Lower house approval of presidential impeachment annulled

BrazilThe acting speaker of Chamber of Deputies, Waldir Maranhão, has annulled the April 15-17 session of the lower house that approved the impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff and saw the case move ahead to the Senate. The annulment, announced by the presiding officer of the house on Monday (May 9), complied with a request from the Attorney General’s Office (AGU). Maranhão has asked Renan Calheiros, president of the Senate where the impeachment proceedings are now being handled, to send back the case to the Chamber of Deputies. He has also ordered a new session at the Chamber of Deputies to hold a new vote within five sittings of today.

As the deputy speaker who recently took over the reins as presiding officer of the lower house, Waldir Maranhão accepted arguments presented by Attorney-General José Eduardo Cardozo that there have been procedural defects in the voting that approved the submission of the impeachment case to the Senate. He said that the parties should not have instructed their members in the house on which way to vote, »because in this case, [deputies] were supposed to vote based on their own personal, independent opinions«, he said in a statement.

Also, he argued, the lawmakers should not have publicly disclosed their intended votes on the media before the voting actually took place on the house floor. Moreover, he said that the result of the vote should have been formally recorded through a resolution, as outlined in the house rules.

Sílvio Costa, deputy leader for the government in the Chamber of Deputies, was the first person to comment on the move. He welcomed what he called a decision »according to the constitution«, but noted that it is still not known how Senate President Renan Calheiros is going to respond.

Source:  Agência Brasil / RedGlobe

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