SANTIAGO – The Chilean Minister of Internal Affairs Victor Pérez resigned on Tuesday. His resignation comes after the House of Representatives approved a constitutional accusation against him. The accusation will now be voted on in the Senate.
Victor Pérez was constitutionally accused by the Chilean opposition, led by Christian Democrat representative Gabriel Ascencio, for the way Chilean police forces had operated in the last couple of months. Police forces were said to operate, for example during social protests, without respecting human rights. Part of the accusation was the way Pérez handled the truckers´ strike in Chile, that caused road blocks throughout the country and disrupted the supply chain for supermarkets. Opposition members said Victor Pérez did not dare, despite the State of Emergency in Chile, to intervene the way he did with protesters.
Opposition members also stressed that Pérez refuses to address the structural problems in the Chilean Carabineros, which he at a certain point even saw as a responsibility of the Defense Ministry. During the session in the House, Alejandro Bernales from the Liberal Party, said that “in the last three months there has been no unrestricted respect for human rights. There is no control of public order, nor has protection been given and security for the police themselves”. Social Party-representative
Jenny Álvarez said that “the Interior minister has violated the Constitution and the laws, because the police have repeatedly acted with unnecessary and disproportionate violence.” Luis Pardo, from coalition party National Renewal, said “it is unfortunate the effort that some are making to achieve an unsustainable tie between the truckers’ strike and those who repeatedly burn machinery, trucks, schools, the subway and churches”.
With 80 votes in favor and 74 against, the accusation was approved by the House, making Pérez the first serving Interior minister since the return to democracy who gets a constitutional accusation against him approved. As he was not allowed to serve as minister until the Senate votes on the accusation, Pérez decided to resign. “For me it is impossible to accept that the President of the Republic will be seven or eight days without an Interior Minister”, he said.
The Senate still votes despite the resignation, but Pérez will stand accused as citizen and not as minister. If approved, Pérez can´t exercise any public positions for five years. Last year, Andrés Chadwick, who earlier had been replaced as Interior Minister, saw a constitutional accusation against him approved. Last month, a constitutional accusation against former Health Minister Jaime Mañalich was not approved.
⭕️ AHORA | Con 80 votos a favor, 74 en contra y 1 abstención la Cámara aprueba la procedencia de la #AcusacionConstitucional contra el Ministro Víctor Pérez. Pasa al Senado.
— Diputadas y Diputados de Chile (@Camara_cl) November 3, 2020
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today.