Deputy Arthur Lira, supported by Jair Bolsonaro , won the internal elections for the Presidency of the Lower House on Monday with a large majority, a result that distances the Brazilian president from a possible political trial with a view to his removal .
With 302 votes, Lira, from the conservative Progresistas party (PP), prevailed in the first round over the other seven candidates who ran for office, in a key vote for the future of the president that was resolved in favor of his candidate.
Since he assumed power in 2019, Bolsonaro has been the subject of about 70 requests for “impeachment” , the implementation of which depends exclusively, according to the Constitution, on the head of the deputies, a position now in the hands of an ally.
Lira’s victory joins that of Rodrigo Pacheco as the new president of the Senate , another parliamentarian from the fragile pro-government base and who also received the express support of the far-right leader. Both will lead both houses of Congress for the next two years.
Lira, who was supported by center and right groups loyal to the Government, but who demand more space in the Executive, will replace Rodrigo Maia, who has presided over the Lower House since 2016 and who in recent weeks had distanced himself from Bolsonaro.
Despite these differences, Maia never chose to follow through on any of the impeachment requests against Bolsonaro, several of them presented for his questioned management of the coronavirus pandemic, which already leaves 225,000 dead and 9.2 infected in Brazil; and its controversial environmental policy.
With the victory of Lira, the progressive opposition and some formations of the moderate right saw the election of their candidate frustrated, the deputy Luiz Baleia Rossi.
Baleia Rossi seemed more inclined to process an impeachment process against the president, but barely got 145 votes out of around 500 deputies who participated in the vote.
Lira, 51, a lawyer and businessman, is currently in his third term as a federal deputy. Before arriving in Brasilia, he was a regional deputy in Alagoas and councilor of Macéio, the capital of that Brazilian state located in the northeast of the country.
He is one of the leaders of the influential bloc of parties that in Brazil is called “centrón”, which groups together the acronyms of the center and right that share a liberal economic vision, among other points.
In his first speech as head of the deputies, Lira promised to advance the reform agenda, such as a tax and an administrative one that have been paralyzed for months in Congress, and to establish a series of priority projects that will be debated with “transparency” by the three powers of the state.
He also assured that his mandate will be marked by “neutrality” and defended the vaccination of the population as a formula to stop the pandemic, an opinion that contrasts with that of Bolsonaro, who has shown his skepticism about the effectiveness of the vaccines developed so far. .
On the other hand, the ruling party Rodrigo Pacheco was also elected this Monday the new president of the Senate, in another triumph for Bolsonaro, who since he assumed power has had serious difficulties in creating a parliamentary base and carrying out his projects in the Legislative.
Pacheco, from the Democrats party (DEM), beat Simone Tebet, from the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), by obtaining 57 votes from the 78 senators who participated in the secret and face-to-face voting.
Pacheco’s candidacy managed to gather the support of nine acronyms, most of the conservative spectrum, although it also obtained those of the opposition and progressive Workers Party (PT), led by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the Democratic Labor Party ( PDT for its acronym in Portuguese).
The process of renewal of parliamentary authorities has been involved in the controversy over Bolsonaro’s interference in lobbying, which the president accompanied with the release of resources reserved in the budgets for legislators’ projects and which in Brazil are known as “parliamentary amendments. “.