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Martes 22 octubre de 2019 | Publicado a las 21:13 · Actualizado a las 09:17
Chile upheaval: House member proposes impeaching president Piñera
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Left-wing House member Pamela Jiles has proposed impeaching president Sebastián Piñera due to the death toll of 15 that the Chilean Government confirmed this Tuesday.

The Constitution allows the House to start impeachment proceedings against heads of State even six months after the end of their administrations.

To activate this mechanism, representatives only need to gather ten signatures and the accusation can start its long and intricate way around Congress.

The House needs to pass the inquiry with the majority of the representatives in exercise. If so, it goes to the Senate, where it requires a two-third approval.

This tool has been used in the past against ministers – in the last 12 years, two Education secretaries have been removed from their positions through this instrument – but never before has a president been accused of breaking the Law or transgressing the Constitution.

Jiles affirmed that Piñera needs to be held accountable for the casualties registered amid the chaos that military presence in the streets has caused.

Chile has been in turmoil since Friday when, after five days of public unrest, massive protests wracked Santiago.

Even though everything started with peaceful calls by high school students to evade paying the Santiago Metro fare, the situation evolved and it ended in tens of thousands taking to the streets across the country, with a general strike scheduled from 23 to 24 October.

Nevertheless, arson attacks, extensive looting and the destruction of public infrastructure forced Piñera to issue emergency decrees that allowed the Uniformed Armed Police and the Armed Forces to be in charge of security.

Piñera, a conservative billionaire, has suffered for months of low approval ratings.

The trade war between China and The United States negatively affected the economy and specially his campaign promise of bringing “better times”, but the protests reflect a popular discontent that goes beyond the Metro fare.

Inequality, the rich and poor gap, high Congress salaries, low pensions, problems with healthcare, unmet demands in the education field, corruption and multimillion-dollar embezzlement scandals involving public entities seem to have taken its toll on Chileans.

However, Piñera’s ministers also helped fueling the crisis with controversial remarks that have sparked calls for cabinet reshuffle.

For instance, the Harvard-educated Finance minister, Felipe Larraín, asked some nuns to pray for the trade war to end.

Later, he highlighted a fall in the price of flowers and invited romantics to buy and give them to their significant others.

Besides, the Economy minister, Juan Andrés Fontaine, a University of Chicago alum, shocked many by suggesting that people from Santiago who chose to wake up earlier every morning could enjoy lower Metro fares.

The Home secretary and cousin to the president, Andrés Chadwick, has also gained a number of critics due to his flawed management of the crisis.

In Chile, Home secretaries are also in charge of public security and, when the head of State is abroad, act as vice presidents.

However, Piñera has also enraged many with his slow reaction and his “we are at war” remarks on Sunday night.

According to the head of State, the country “is at war with a powerful, relentless enemy that respects nothing or anyone and that is willing to use violence and crime without limits”.

Since then, Chileans have flooded social networks such as Twitter asking for his resignation.

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