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Brazil: Temer votes crucial vote in Parliament

Ⓒ AFP – EVARISTO SA – | Brazilian opposition parliamentarians protest loudly in the hemicycle against President Michel Temer in Brasilia on 2 August 2017

After more than nine hours of heated debates, Brazilian MPs began voting on Wednesday on a possible trial against Michel Temer, the country’s first president ever formally accused of corruption.

Although the opposition managed to delay the start of the vote by delaying maneuvers in a thrilling session, the necessary quorum was finally reached.

According to analysts, the head of state, a 76-year-old conservative who has been aggressive in the storm, has a good chance of escaping a trial, even though his popularity rating collapsed to 5% .

The start of the session was marked by noisy protests from the left asking for the president’s head. Then parliamentarians of all stripes – including more than a third are themselves targeted by corruption investigations – have embarked on diatribes.

The debates that preceded the vote were marked by moments of widespread confusion, with members of parliament who threatened to come to blows in the middle of the hemicycle.

Tension has gone up a notch when a fervent supporter of Mr. Temer brandished an inflatable doll bearing the image of former left president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, himself convicted of corruption, in uniform prisoner.

Ⓒ AFP – EVARISTO SA – | “Temer out” projected on the building of the parliament in Brasilia on 2 August 2017 which must decide whether it follows a procedure that may cost its mandate to the Brazilian president

At this crucial meeting, a two-thirds majority (342 out of 513) is necessary to give the green light to the removal of Michel Temer to the Supreme Court, which would judge him.

In case of a favorable opinion, the Supreme Court could remove Mr. Temer from power for six months, the time of the trial. Brazil would lose its head of state for the second time in just over a year, after the shocking dismissal of left president Dilma Rousseff.

If Mr. Temer, from the PMDB party (center), was pushed towards the exit, he would be replaced by the President of the Chamber Rodrigo Maia, time to designate a successor.

– “Large majority” –

The president said he was “confident”, although a survey recently revealed that 81% of Brazilians wanted members to allow a trial.

The Sao Paulo Stock Exchange finished the session up, exceeding 67,000 points for the first time since the start of the scandal involving Mr. Temer in May.

Ⓒ AFP – EVARISTO SA – | Brazilian President Michel Temer in Brasilia on 1 August 2017

The market has meant his feeling that the president would save his mandate and have his hands free to finally put in place the austerity measures necessary for the recovery in a country leaded since 2015 by a historic recession.

Analysts at the Eurasia Group said the option of a trial would be “rejected by a large majority” and that the government could “resume negotiations on pension reform”.

Mr Temer is accused of having “availed himself of his position as head of state” to receive 500,000 reais (about 140,000 euros) of bribes from the meat giant JBS, involved in the gigantic scandal Of corruption affecting Brazil.

– ‘A thief is a thief’ –

Before the start of the session, three deputies from PSOL, a far-left party, brandished a suitcase of notes bearing Michel Temer’s face, in reference to the arrest in May of a relative of the president in possession of a Suitcase of cuts that it would have been destined.

“A thief is a thief and must be treated as such,” said MP Major Olimpio of the Solidariedade party in a passionate speech.

The pro-Temer camp, for its part, rejected the accusations, called “fictions”.

The president has spared no effort in recent weeks to secure the support of a majority of MPs. Ministers were requisitioned to vote in the House, and many, and costly, favors would have been given to members of Parliament.

“To stay in power, Temer probably spent as much as the PSG for the transfer of Neymar,” said Chico Alencar, deputy of the PSOL, in reference to the clause of release of 222 million euros that the club must pay to the FC Barcelona to attach the services of the Brazilian player.

The future of the footballer was more commented by the Brazilians on the social networks than that of President Temer, while calm prevailed in the capital Brasilia.

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