Off the hook, Temer to force more reforms
BRASILIA: The unelected President Michel Temer, who is Brazil’s most unpopular leader since 1985 when democracy returned, has vowed to continue with his controversial economic and political reforms now that he is safe from a trial to face corruption charges.
Temer held on to power on Wednesday as the Chamber of Deputies voted to reject corruption charges against him.
The lawsuit filed against the president by Prosecutor-General Rodrigo Janot has been dropped, with 263 votes against 227 to dismiss the charges.
The case began in May, when Joesley Batista, the owner of a Brazilian meat-packing company, confessed that he had paid bribes to the president. He also turned over an audio recording in which Temer can apparently be heard signing off on bribes for public officials.
Temer’s special adviser, Rodrigo Loures, was also caught on film receiving a suitcase of 500000 Brazilian reals (R2.1 million) allegedly destined for the president.
Temer was then charged with bribe-taking, the first such charge against a sitting Brazilian president.
According to Brazilian law, Temer cannot be prosecuted on these corruption allegations again during his term in office following the rejection of the charges.
Temer’s presidency has been marked by a harsh agenda of austerity, notably pushing through massive reforms to Brazil’s labour legislation in a move that was met with resistance from workers and unions across the country.
His next challenge will be to push forward with pension reform, which will require a three-fifths majority in the House and Senate since it is a constitutional reform.
Temer’s popularity languishes at a dismal 5%, which is the lowest of any president since the return of democracy in 1985, according to a recent poll by Ibope.
Eighty-one percent of Brazilians also supported the trial of the president for corruption, according to the same polling group. Xinhua and TeleSUR
Brazil’s President Michel Temer gives a statement at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia on Wednesday after surviving a key congressional vote that could have suspended him over a bribery charge.