Brazil’s Congress rejects corruption charges against President Temer

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This marks the second time Temer has avoided corruption proceedings since becoming president in May 2016.

Brazil’s Congress rejects corruption charges against President Temer. Photo credit: Luis Macedo / Chamber of Deputies

By: Cristiane Sampaio / Edition: Simone Freire / Source: Brasil de Fato / The Dawn News / October 26, 2017

Brazilian lawmakers rejected corruption charges against President Michel Temer on Wednesday evening, which would have allowed the Supreme Court to try him for bribery and obstruction of justice.

The embattled Brazilian President, only need to secure 172 in the 513-seat chamber of deputies to avoid a trial. The final vote was 251 in favor of a trial, 233 against, with two abstentions and 25 absentees.

This marks the second time Temer has avoided corruption proceedings since becoming president in May 2016.

Additionally, critics have repeatedly accused the embattled Brazilian President of actively attempting to garner necessary political support from members of Brazil’s lower house in order to avoid going to trail.

The outcome of the vote provoked outrage among civil society and leading opposition political figures accusing the President of supporting legislative proposals and measures in efforts to satisfy powerful lobbying groups along with interested lawmakers.

Recently, in order to appeal to Brazil’s powerful agribusiness lobby, which enjoys two-fifths of the votes in the lower house, Temer agreed to lower fines for environmental damage. He also attempted to relax a definition of slave labor, but was forced to backtrack after public outrage.

According to a survey sponsored by the political party PSOL, leading up to Wednesday’s vote, between the months of september and October, the Temer administration spent a total of R$600 million on parlimentary amendents and legislative concessions. Additionally, the survey revealed that during that same period massive corporate debts were forgiven, reaching a total sum of $77 billion.

It took around seven hours for the lower chamber to reach quorum, which opposition parties used as a strategy to stall the voting process.

Former Attorney General Rodrigo Janot issued the charges in September, accusing Mr. Temer along with other top-politicians of embezzling at least $58 million since 2006.

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