Seven out of 10 Chileans support the impeachment of Piñera, according to a survey

Seven out of 10 Chileans support the accusation promoted by the opposition in Parliament to remove the president, the conservative Sebastián Piñera, for alleged irregularities in a mine revealed in the Pandora Papers investigation, according to a poll published this Sunday.

The Pulso Ciudadano survey by the consulting firm Activa Research showed that 67.7% of those surveyed said they were "strongly agree" or "agree" with impeachment, while 14.9% "strongly disagree" or "in disagreement" and 17.5% "Neither agree nor disagree".

The highest adherence came from young people between 18 and 30 years old and those over 51, where support is around 70%, according to the survey, which also revealed that the approval of the president fell to 12.5%, one from his lowest levels since he took office for four years in March 2018.

In addition, 37.7% of those surveyed who claimed to agree with Piñera’s impeachment declared themselves to be sympathetic to the right, that is, almost two out of every five.

Deputies from all opposition parties on Wednesday presented a constitutional indictment against the 71-year-old president and owner of the fourth largest fortune in Chile.

This is a historic process because for the second time in his term, Piñera faces a request for dismissal after which he failed in November 2019 for alleged human rights violations during the social outbreak.

In addition, he is the second Chilean president in office to face impeachment, after the case that was dismissed against Carlos Ibáñez del Campo in 1956.

The objective is that the accusatory letter, which will foreseeably have the votes in the Lower House, reaches the Senate – the body that acts as judge – before the presidential elections on November 21.

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Pandora’s papers revealed alleged irregularities in the sale of Minera Dominga by a company owned by Piñera’s sons in the British Virgin Islands, just nine months after he took office for his first term (2010-2014).

As revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the sale of the project to the businessman and friend of the presidential family Carlos Alberto Délano had to take place in three installments, but the last one was conditional on the area not being declared of environmental protection, a decision that depended on Piñera.

The impeachment trial, which may lead to the dismissal or disqualification from holding public office of Piñera, joins the investigation opened last week by the Chilean Prosecutor’s Office for bribery and tax crimes in the same financial operation.

The president defends that he dissociated himself from his businesses through blind trusts in 2009 and claims that what was revealed in the Pandora Papers was already investigated and dismissed in 2017.

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