Chile's Senate has voted to impeach Education Minister Harald Beyer for professional misconduct for failing to monitor profits in the education sector.

Beyer will be banned from holding public office for five years following the 20-18 vote. The Chamber of Deputies had previously narrowly voted in favor of the measure to remove him from office.

Wednesday's vote was seen as a triumph for Chile's center-left opposition, which hopes to regain the presidency in November elections, and the country's student protest movement, which has held two years of marches to demand free education and an end to for-profit universities.

Opposition lawmakers had accused Beyer of not investigating complaints about profits being made at the private Universidad del Mar.

Visibly distraught, Beyer thanked his team at the Education Ministry and said that "the worst face of politics has taken precedence."