The Chilean opposition presented this Wednesday (13) in the Chamber of Deputies a request for impeachment against the country’s president, Sebastián Piñera, for having violated the principle of “probity” and “seriously compromising the honor of the nation”.
Last week, the Chilean Public Ministry opened an investigation into alleged irregularities in the sale and purchase of a mining megaproject in 2010 in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands, identified in the so-called Pandora Papers.
The Chilean government stated shortly after submitting the impeachment request that the constitutional indictment made by the opposition “has no legal basis” and has a “purely electoral” objective.
“We have never seen in the history of Chile such a rush, such a lack of seriousness when it comes to studying the antecedents of a constitutional indictment. The important thing was to present it so that it could be voted on before the November elections,” said Juan José Ossa, minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency, the folder responsible for relations between the Executive and Parliament.
The opposition’s goal is for the indictment, which could lead to the president’s impeachment or disqualification from public office, to be voted on in the Chamber of Deputies in the coming days and sent to the Senate before the November 21 elections.
“We are seeing the worst in politics, but that cannot justify doing anything to win some votes and undermine democracy, as some far left lawmakers are trying to do,” official spokesman Jaime Bellolio said. “They want to take away from Chileans the possibility of a democratic and republican transfer of power, as has happened since the return to democracy,” added the spokesman.
After the publication of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Chilean Public Ministry last week opened an investigation into alleged tax crimes and Piñera’s bribery, which argues that the facts revealed were already investigated and filed in 2017 .
According to the ICIJ, the payment of the company Minera Dominga should be made in three installments, but the last one was conditional on the non-declaration of environmental protection in the area, although the mine threatens a natural reserve with unique penguins.
Environmental protection, which ended up not being enacted, depended on Piñera, who has one of the biggest fortunes in the country and who had assumed power for his first term (2010-2014) a few months before the sale of the project, which is currently pending of appeals in the Supreme Court.