By 20 votes to 18 the Senate, which the Concertación narrowly controls, impeached him, accusing him of turning a blind eye to illegal profiteering at Chile’s universities. The vote followed a similar defeat in the Chamber of Deputies two weeks earlier, in which the Concertación relied on the votes of a few small, left-wing parties. As a result of his impeachment, Mr Beyer is barred from public office for five years.
It’s true that Mr Beyer presided over an imperfect education system, plagued by financial irregularities. Maybe he could have done more to regulate it. But the same could be said of his two predecessors under Mr Piñera, or indeed of any education minister of the previous 20 years, when the Concertación was in power.
The vote smacks of revenge.
Five years ago the centre-right impeached the Concertación’s education minister, Yasna Provoste. Many on the centre-left remember that and have not forgiven it. The impeachment also has a strong whiff of electioneering. Chileans will choose a new president in November, and the campaign is already getting nasty.