(PresidentialInsider.com)- The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, was impeached on Tuesday by the lower house of the country’s Congress. He will now face a Senate trial where senators decide whether or not to remove him from office over allegations that he played an improper role in the sale of a family property while in office.
The Senate will need a minimum of 78 votes out of 155 senators in the Chamber of Deputies to be removed from office, and the decision is expected to be made as part of a 20-hour session.
It is unlikely that the president will be removed, where the opposition only has 24 of 29 votes needed to oust him, but the fact that the Senate trial will take place during an election means that the vote doesn’t ultimately mean all that much to the president.
The first round of the general election in the country will take place on November 21, and Piñera’s first term as president will end on March 11. Given that Chile doesn’t allow a president to run for a consecutive term, even if he is impeached and removed, he’ll be on his way out anyway.
The accusations against the president come from the Pandora Papers scandal. It was revealed this year that Piñera, one of the richest people in Chile, knew that his son was using offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands for tax purposes, and to sell the Dominga mining project property.
The final payment on the sale of the mine was contingent on the national government declaring the region in which the mine sat as a nature preserve. At the time, Piñera was the head of the government and did not label the north-central region a reserve – despite pressure to do so. Piñera claims that he didn’t know anything about the sale of the mine and that his decision was not influenced by it.
We’re about to see another chaotic impeachment trial unfold, this time not in Washington, D.C.