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Chilean lower court has voted to remove the president from a mine sale

The next Chilean president Sebastián Piñera is facing dismissal after a small congressional office voted against him for alleged wrongdoing in selling his family for $ 152m in mining finance.

The legislators voted 78-67, three times, in favor of Piñera voting following an all-night rally. The Senate now has to decide whether to fire the 71-year-old billionaire who has made a name for himself in office.

No immediate action has been taken since Piñera’s vote but the President has previously denied any wrongdoing, saying he was unaware of the mine’s sale.

Speaking to members of the lower house in the debate on Monday night, Piñera’s lawyer Jorge Gálvez declined to call for “election administration”. The ministers have also spoken out against the president.

Opposition lawmakers launched the ruling last month after details of a 2010 mining deal were revealed. Pandora Papers, the release of files that were downloaded to the economy located in an area protected by leading politicians and businessmen.

Pandora’s leaked sources say the agreement signed in the British Virgin Islands stated that the total selling price of $ 152m depended on the location of the Dominga mining project not being included in an environmentally friendly area, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. who co-authored the work of Pandora.

The sale was later approved by the Piñera government, although the ICIJ said the mining operation was still awaiting approval.

At a congressional hearing, Socialist Congressman Jaime Naranjo spoke for more than 14 hours in order to justify his actions. This gave time for another opposition lawmaker to end the Covid-19 runoff, to reach Congress and cast the 78 most important votes in a 155-seat seat.

Piñera’s conduct, which expires in March, “violates the rules and regulations” and “seriously violates national dignity,” Naranjo said.

The lower house of parliament has now referred the matter to the 43-member Senate. Senators are the ones who have to vote to remove the president from office, when a two-thirds majority is required. Piñera is still in office but will not be allowed out of the country until the project is completed.

The lower court vote came less than two weeks before the Chileans voted in a new congressional election and the first phase of the next presidential election. Voting before November 21 indicates that the country will be split sharply between left and right.

Gabriel Boric, a 35-year-old who left the former student union leader and presidential candidate, told the Financial Times that he was helping to alleviate the opposition. “I think it would be better for Chile to allow the Congress government to accuse another president of corruption. . . and those who do not constantly think about environmental degradation in order to continue making money, ”he said.

Local markets have denied the allegations, with traders hoping the Senate will not accept the opposition. “This is how it looks. . . that it is difficult for this to cross the Senate, “said Igal Magendzo, an economist at Pacífico Research in Santiago.

Robert Funk, a political scientist at the University of Chile, said the Senate could vote before November 21 and it would be “impossible” for the opposition to get two-thirds of the chamber if lawmakers from the ruling coalition agree. , as he did in matters such as the withdrawal of pensions. “This is a very important vote [than pensions], so it is difficult to say whether they will turn, ”he added.

The most recent and second representation against Piñera. Opposition groups called for her to be ousted in 2019, accusing her of violating human rights during a series of anti-government protests.

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