Chile: Piñera Impeached

CHILE - In Brief 09 Nov 2021 by Robert Funk

As if a Social Explosion, a pandemic, a constitutional convention and a general election weren’t enough, Chile has now added presidential impeachment to the mix, as the House of Deputies voted early Tuesday morning in favor of a ‘Constitutional Accusation’, or impeachment, of Sebastián Piñera. According to the opposition, some of Piñera’s business dealings revealed in the recent publication of the Pandora Papers, and currently under investigation by justice authorities, justified the vote.

The vote was dramatic as deputy Jaime Naranjo spoke during a 14-hour filibuster on Monday, waiting for midnight so that his colleague Giorgio Jackson could end his week-long quarantine (he had been a close contact of Gabriel Boric, who tested positive for Covid last week). Once his quarantine ended, Jackson rushed from his home in Santiago to the Congress in Valparaiso (all followed by TV cameras) to appear heroically in time for the vote. In the end, his vote was the deciding one. The impeachment was approved by 78 to 67, with 3 abstentions.

The process now moves on to the Senate, which will ‘judge’ the case. The vote, which will probably not take place until after the 21 November elections, requires two-thirds approval, or 29 votes. A guilty vote seems unlikely at this time.

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