An Ipsos survey released Thursday has shown that 60% of Chileans were in favour of launching the impeachment process against President Sebastián Piñera for the obscure deals for which his name ended up included in the so-called Pandora Papers investigations.
People were asked if they were in favour of the accusation before Congress filed by a group of lawmakers against the head of state for having “infringed the principle of probity” and compromising “the honour of the homeland” or not, to which 60% were in favour of the constitutional accusation, the research showed.
Most of the people in favour of the proceedings were young adults over the age of 30, Ipsos said. In addition, 63% responded that they found it very important that Congress investigated the president's involvement in the events depicted by the Pandora Papers and 37% agreed his removal from office would be good for Chile.
The Pandora Papers found Piñera's businesses included the sale of a mining company through the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands.
Opposition lawmakers had collected signatures to launch the begin impeachment and a Congressional vote on the issue is expected in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Piñera has submitted his defence before Congress in writing near Thursday midnight, thus meeting the 10 working days deadline.
The opposition-controlled Lower House is to vote on November 8 on whether to approve or reject the accusation.
If given the green light, the case would go to the Senate - where there is a greater balance of forces between the ruling party and the opposition - which would have to act as a jury.
According to an investigation by local media CIPER and LaBot, part of the Pandora Papers of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a company of the president's sons sold Minera Dominga to businessman Carlos Alberto Délano, Piñera's close friend, for US $ 152 million, through a deal partly sealed in the British Virgin Islands.
The payment for the operation had to be made in three instalments, and contained a controversial clause that made the last payment conditional on not establishing an environmental protection area over the mining area of operations, as claimed by environmental groups.
The business was carried out in 2010, during Piñera's first term as President (2010-2014), who did nothing to protect the area.
Piñera, one of the richest men in Chile, claimed that he had left the administration of his companies in 2009, before assuming his first government, so he did not participate in the sale of Dominga. He is now going through his second term as President and unless impeached, he is to stay at the helm of La Moneda until March 11, 2022.
Some lawmakers had tried to impeach Piñera in 2019 after the repression against demonstrators during that year's uprisings but to no avail.