Brazil’s Supreme Court has removed the speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, on allegations he blocked a corruption investigation.
Cunha, a rival of President Dilma Rousseff, is also one of the main architects of her impeachment. CCTV’s Paulo Cabral reports on what impact today’s action will have on the process.
Brazil supreme court removes speaker of the houseBrazil's Supreme Court has removed the speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, on allegations he blocked a corruption investigation. Cunha, a rival of President Dilma Rousseff, is also one of the main architects of her impeachment. CCTV's Paulo Cabral reports on what impact today's action will have on the process.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Cunha had a big victory when his peers approved the continuation of the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff
But this week, things turned sour for Cunha as the Supreme Court unanimously removed him from the Parliament and from the Presidency of the House pending an investigation of corruption and abuse of power. The decision is effective immediately, but still needs congressional confirmation.
The Supreme Court’s decision was welcomed by members of Parliament, both from the opposition and the government. Cunha is an extremely controversial figure here and, with Rousseff’s impeachment approved and now out his hands, he’s lost much of the support he had once managed to pull together.
It’s unlikely the removal of Cunha will have any impact on Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment process. The case has already gone to the Senate, which is expected to vote soon on allegations of Rousseff budget irregularities.
“I don’t think there will be any impact in the impeachment process from a legal point of view. However, I think that politically it can also somehow help the Vice President Michel Temer in his legitimacy claim to be the next president. This is because the political and moral authority of Cunha has been a big stain in the legitimacy of the impeachment process,” Ronaldo Macedo, a law professor at Getulio Vargas Foundation said.
Cunha’s critics – and even some allies – often compare him to the fictional character Frank Underwood, from the TV Netflix drama “House of Cards,” for his ability for backroom political negotiations to reach his objectives.
Opinion polls show Cunha is even less popular than President Rousseff herself, with over three quarters of the people saying they want him out of the Parliament.
“Cunha had a very important role in facing off the government of Dilma Rousseff, but he also has to answer for his own crimes,” Brazilian lawyer Jose Teodoro said.
If Rousseff is impeached and Cunha remained as president of the chamber of deputies,
he would – despite the allegations against him – be the vice president and next in line to become the president. This is a possibility that deeply concerns Brazilians – both in the political establishment, and the general population.