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Dark Side Last Updated: Nov 12, 2021 - 4:00:14 PM

Chilean president impeached over Pandora Paper allegations
By Monique Beals, The Hil, 11/09/21
Nov 12, 2021 - 3:59:14 PM

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Chilean President Sebastián Piñera was impeached on Tuesday as a result of allegations that he used his office to create favorable conditions for the sale of a mining company co-owned by his family.

Piñera's impeachment in the lower house of the Chilean congress will now trigger a trial in the Senate, where lawmakers will determine whether to remove him from office. The Associated Press reported that the trial is unlikely to end in his removal, however, as the opposition party holds only 24 of the 29 necessary votes.

The impeachment passed through the lower house with only the minimum number of possible votes, per The Associated Press. Several members of the opposition party joined the president's party in voting against the decision.

The impeachment vote came after a 20-hour session in the lower house. The AP noted that, due to the significance of each vote, Socialist Deputy Jaime Naranjo stalled the decision for hours until another deputy completed a quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test. A different deputy also snuck into the chamber to avoid health checks as he awaited the results of his own COVID-19 test.

The allegations against Piñera come from the leaked Pandora Papers, which revealed that one of Piñera’s sons used offshore companies to sell the Dominga mining project, a property co-owned by the family. Final payment in the deal would not have gone through if the government, led by Piñera, had made the location into a nature preserve, according to the AP.

Piñera has said he was uninvolved in the management of either the mining company or his son's firm, and unaware of his ties to Dominga. Though the national prosecutor’s office has said it is once again investigating the case, prosecutors and courts previously decided in 2017 that the president committed no crime and that all taxes owed in the deal had been paid, the AP added.

Whether or not the Senate removes him from office, Piñera's term will end in March. Chilean presidents are barred from serving consecutive terms.

The campaign for Piñera's replacement will be underway while the Senate holds its trial.

Source:Ocnus.net 2021

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