By: C. Paixao
The impeachment of President Sebastián Piera was rejected by the Chilean Senate on Tuesday, the 16th of November, 2021. The vote came a week after the Chamber of Deputies approved the start of the investigation into the president's alleged misconduct.
To be ratified by the Chilean Senate, the impeachment would require two-thirds of the chamber's votes, or at least 29 of the country's 43 senators. It became no longer feasible to continue the process until the latest update of this article, with 14 votes against and one abstention.
This was the second attempt to depose Chile's president, who assumed office in March 2018 and was unable to recover from one of the most difficult times in the country's 31-year history following the social crisis of 2019.
Piñera's allies attained the threshold needed to prevent the opposition from receiving the required number of votes, a higher hurdle than the simple majority in the lower house, after heated discussion and speeches defending and denouncing the center-right president. The result prevents Piñera, a millionaire businessman, from being removed from office and barred from entering public office for five years.
The impeachment proceedings stem from the release of the so-called Pandora Papers, a bundle of papers that exposed offshore transactions among world leaders in politics and industry. Documents seeming to detail a contract concerning the 2010 sale of the Dominga copper and iron mine were among them. Piñera was in the first year of his first term in office at the time. According to the documents, the contract, which involved a company related to Piñera's family, was predicated on favorable rules. In 2017, the deal was investigated and found to be invalid by the courts.
President Piñera denies the allegations, claiming that the contract's terms were previously checked and no abnormalities were discovered.