By 27 votes in favor, 8 against and 8 abstentions, the Senate approved this Wednesday to extend the Constitutional State of Emergency until June 30. Among other provisions, the measure includes curfew at the national level, one of the characteristics of this measure, which most generated controversy. Which, however, was not enough to reverse what was already seen as resolved in favour of the Executive’s initiative several days ago. However, during their interventions, opposition parliamentarians complained about the lack of precise justification for continuing the measure and the lack of dialogue on the part of the Government. However, they approved the application taking into account the majority opinion of the health specialists, who recommended extending it.
This afternoon in the Senate the voting day was held to ratify the request of the President of the Republic, Sebastián Piñera, by trade, to extend the State of Emergency that includes curfew at the national level. The initiative was approved yesterday in the Chamber of Deputies and today in the Senate the session began, but without the presence of ministers of Health and Interior. Only The Minister of the Segpres Juan José Ossa attended as the holder.
The absence of executive authorities first annoyed Senator José Miguel Insulza, one of the negotiators the government counted on to secure votes among some opposition senators. «In view of what is being raised here, listen to the Minister (Ossa) gladly, but first listen to the Minister of Health, who we hope will make a presentation about what the health situation in the country is and the interior minister who is in charge of public order,» he said.
At the same time, Insulza commented that «for us this is very important, we have a positive attitude on this issue, we want to talk, but we need the Government to inform us well and make an assessment».
The lack of detailed explanations to justify the measure limiting constitutional guarantees was also in the complaint of Senate President Adriana Muñoz.» We sent the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Health today’s table so that they could participate in this debate, however, there is only the Minister of the Presidency,» said Senator PPD
The same complaint was expressed by Senator Alvaro Elizalde and Senator Isabel Allende. Both from the PS. He also drew attention to the lack of detail in the government’s office, D.C. Senator Ximena Rincon.
From early on also the vice president of the Senate Rabindranath Quinteros, had expressed his rejection of the government’s initiative and during the vote delivered his reasons. «I regret that the Executive has resisted a thorough and comprehensive assessment of pandemic management. The Executive increasingly est distanced from reality and his prounity speeches refers to Congress a three-page office and a couple of annexes with a long list of laws and decrees and more than 200 measures, none of them adopted in State of Emergency viruses other than auditing and requiring us to give ourselves» Senator PS complained.
One of the protagonists of yesterday’s session was The Minister of the Segpres Juan José Ossa after his exhibition which was interpreted as a «threat» in linking the approval of the extension, with the continuity of social benefits. Now, in the Senate, the minister referred to another of the controversial points, which relates to the use of curfew for the control of public order. «I want to categorically rule out that this means is intended to control public order or less to do social engineering as we heard yesterday. It has also been said that this State of Emergency would bring under its sleeve related matters about what is lived in La Araucanía, I want to dismiss it,» Ossa said.
«It could have been a very good day, if ministers had been here, as have other democratic governments. The request was that at least the Minister of Health come to explain how the pandemic is. We would have liked the Minister of the Interior to come to explain that he would not use the State of Emergency for anything other than the pandemic,» said José Miguel Insulza, who voted for the initiative anyway.