Chile’s lower house approves presidential impeachment bid

Santiago, Chile, Nov 9 (EFE).- Chile’s lower house of Congress on Tuesday took a further step toward impeachment proceedings against the country’s conservative president Sebastián Piñera for alleged irregularities in the sale of a mining company.

Following a marathon parliamentary session of almost 24 hours, lawmakers voted 78 to 67 against with three abstentions to send the impeachment bid to the Senate, which has the power to cast judgment on Piñera.

The debate in the Senate, where the majority vote threshold is 75%, is due to take place just days ahead of presidential elections on 21 November, when voters will elect Piñera’s successor.

The Pandora Papers, a leak of millions of documents, revealed alleged irregularities in the sale of the Minera Dominga mining company via a British Virgin Islands-listed Piñera family firm to one of the president’s childhood friends just nine months before he took office in 2010.

Piñera, one of the wealthiest people in Chile, defended the selling of his companies through blind trusts ahead of his tenure and said the accusation was already dismissed in 2017.

“With what we have experienced today and the way in which the accusation was prepared, improvised for the purpose of planting its discussion a few days before an election, how can we not understand that politics is an activity that has a bad reputation,” the president’s lawyer, Jorge Gálvez said during a six hour speech in Congress.

This is the second impeachment bid filed against Piñera following a failed attempt to remove him from office in 2019 for alleged human rights violations during a clampdown on mass protests, the largest since the end of the dictatorship. EFE


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