The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, faces a constitutional accusation against him that could remove him from office if both houses of Congress approve the impeachment, which this Monday begins to be analyzed by the Chamber of Deputies.
The vote was scheduled for this Monday, but it is possible that the debate will continue until the next day as part of a strategy to achieve the ‘impeachment’. Indeed, opponents of the government need 78 votes out of the 155 available, and they say they have them. However, a deputy from the Broad Front, Giorgio jackson, You cannot attend the November 8 session due to being isolated due to being in close contact with covid-19, and only face-to-face participation is allowed.
Likewise, as of midnight they will have already concluded their quarantine period, being able to vote this Tuesday. Because, Jaime Naranjo, legislator of the Socialist Party (PS), plans to pronounce a long intervention that will last until the next day, when his political ally is authorized to attend the lower house.
“A 1,300-page speech”
Naranjo’s pronouncement began after 10 in the morning (local time), and in the previous one he had already warned that he had prepared “a 1,300-page speech” and that he will speak “as long as it takes until Jackson is in the room”. The exhibition takes place because this Friday the Review Commission recommended rejecting the accusation against Piñera, with two votes in favor, two against and one abstention. Then, according to the regulation, a legislator must intervene to support the procedure.
After the vote, if the opposition has the 77 seats it claims to have and adds the vote of the isolated deputy, the matter would go to the Senate. After, if the instance has two-thirds of the votes, the president should leave the Presidency, four months before the end of his term. If the presidential vacancy finally occurs, the line of succession continues with the Minister of the Interior and Public Security, Rodrigo Delgado, who would become the new head of state.
Likewise, the official said that the constitutional accusation “has an electoral purpose to destabilize the president.”
Pandora’s Papers dot the head of state
The impeachment order against Piñera arises from the revelation published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), known as the Pandora Papers. It is a leak, similar to the Panama Papers, where names and signatures are reported that would have hidden their fortunes in tax hideouts, in this case, in the British Virgin Islands.
According to the investigation, an important businessman and friend of Piñera, Carlos Delano, bought shares of Dominga Mine to the presidential family in 2010, paying $ 152 million in three installments. It is believed that a part of those payments depended on direct actions taken by the Executive: the commitment not to declare territories of Punta de Choros, Coquimbo region, as an environmental protection zone. In fact, this declaration was never made, despite the recommendations of environmentalists for its wide biodiversity.
The Chilean Prosecutor’s Office has already charged the head of state, considering that he may have incurred in tax crimes, bribery and bribery.
Faced with this situation, the Chilean Prosecutor’s Office charged the Head of State, considering that he could have incurred in tax crimes, bribery and bribery. It is calculated that by this maneuver the investors obtained a 1000% profit in just 18 months, while the mining company installed its businesses in a port area.
For its part, Piñera’s defense affirms that this case was already tried in 2017, when it was acquitted: it points out that there would be no new elements to re-investigate the matter, and requests that it be dismissed. “These and other unjust accusations are very painful not only for me, but especially for my family and for all of us who participate in this government,” said the head of state at the beginning of October.
However, the Prosecutor’s Office maintained that the investigations of the Exalmar-Dominga case – to which Piñera referred – did not contain the current revelations of the Pandora Papers, which “point to the sale in a tax haven of a mining project linked to the president’s companies, with a payment condition linked to environmental institutions. “For this reason, said prosecutor Jorge Abbott, further investigation is required, according to the recommendation issued in a report by the Anticorruption Unit of the National Prosecutor’s Office (UNAC).
Thus, while the judicial instance is being developed, the political opposition wants to promote its own trial, which is advancing in Congress.
Social tension in the face of the elections
While the Legislative Branch debates the possible removal of the president, there are only a few days left until the national elections on November 21 will be held. Although nothing has yet been defined, preliminary polls place the leftist candidate as favorites for the second round Jose Boric, from the I Approve Dignity coalition – Frente Amplio, and the conservative Jose Antonio Kast, of the Republican Party, who publicly vindicates the last military dictatorship.
The list goes on with Yasna Provoste, the Christian democrat of the New Social Pact front, and the ruling party Sebastian Sichel, who had won the internal partisan of Chile Vamos, and now is presented independently. Regarding this last candidate, Piñera’s former minister, the polls reflect a decline in his popularity in recent months.
Faced with this situation, and the surprising rise of the extreme right, Sichel denounced at the end of October pressure from his own coalition to adopt a more conservative position, after the Independent Democratic Union (UDI) withdrew its support: “I am not going to accept the blackmail of those who want me to transform myself into something that I am not, into an intolerant person, from the extreme right, “he said.
On the other hand, while the applicants dispute the attention of the electorate, the current government faces a panorama of great social tension in the South Macrozone, where there have been riots for several weeks. There, in the provinces of Biobío, Arauco, Malleco and Cautín, the Executive decreed a Exception status that empowers the National Defense to administer the territories, controlling circulation and access, increasing militarization.
This measure, which had an initial duration of 15 days, has already been extended twice, and now Piñera seeks the Legislative to approve his third extension. The conflict reached a point of extreme tension on November 3, when a Mapuche was killed in the middle of a military and police operation to clear the P-72 route, which was blocked by indigenous protesters in repudiation of the state of emergency.
In this context, the Mapuche guerrilla group Weichán Auka Mapu published a video on social networks showing dozens of heavily armed people, promising to expel the uniformed men and defend the territory, which they consider their own.
The president, who has already survived the most important social outbreak in the history of the country, seeks to contain another boiling context with controversial military deployments and succeed in the political trial, while his candidate falls in the polls.
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