For his increasingly unpredictable behaviour in the face of the coronavirus and his inappropriate speeches, the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, appears to be on track for an impeachment.
Even his allies are keeping their distance. By all accounts, the far-right president has lost support in Congress and isolation has started to become a reality.
In statements to the website “Congress in Focus”, the leader of the ruling Social Liberal Party (SLP) in the Senate, Major Olimpío, warned that the segments that were crucial for Bolsonaro’s election in 2018 are currently “starting to abandon ship”.
In this context he is referring to the affluent agribusinesses, public safety professionals and the evangelicals, who are represented by the most influential benches in Congress.
He emphasised that Bolsonaro does not understand the gravity of the pandemic, he is not taking the necessary care to protect his own health and he should be worrying less about tastes and more about supporting ministers for the Economy and Health. He should “be with the people”, he remarked.
The Senate Office reported that seven requests for impeachment had been made in the Chamber of Deputies for the reckless performance of the ex-military figure in respect of far-right demonstrations held on 15 March and Covid-19.
That Sunday, Bolsonaro shook hands and took pictures in the Planalto Palace (the official presidential residence) with his supporters who were rallying to support the government to close Congress and the Federal Supreme Court (FSC).
Even though he tested negative for Covid-19, at that time, the ruler should have been in quarantine until a further test was carried out, as recommended by the Minister for Health.
In nearly all of the claims, the president is accused of encouraging participation in protests which call for the dissolution of Congress and the FSC, as well as for downplaying the risk of the coronavirus to the population. Two requests are from deputies: one led by the socialist Fernanda Melchionna, who signed a request with other members of congress and civil society representatives; and the other by Alexandre Frota, from the Brazilian Social Democrat Party.
A district parliamentarian (Leandro Gass, from the Sustainability Network party (REDE)) has also submitted a document requesting to remove the ex-captain from the Military.
“Bolsonaro has been criminal in his behaviour and his irresponsibility could bring serious risks to people’s lives and national health. He’s making the crisis worse instead of resolving it”, said Melchionna when she had the chance.
She also pointed out that “we have reached a point of no return; a request for impeachment. He cannot continue to govern at the risk of us not being able to respond to the current economic and health crisis that Brazil is experiencing”.
According to the Senate Office, before these requests 10 others were submitted for different reasons.
One was archived and the others are waiting to be sent from the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia.
In total, from January 2019, this chamber has received 17 requests that he be removed, nearly all of which have been from the public. Under these circumstances, the ex-minister of justice, José Eduardo Cardozo, explained that there is series of actions which could lead to an impeachment of the current resident of the Planalto.
“If Brazilian society want it, along with its representatives, [Bolsonaro] is in serious danger of losing his mandate”, Cardozo explained to the reporter, Dayane Ponte from Seu Jornal, TVT.
The lawyer, Clara Masiero, coordinator of the Department of Courses at the Brazilian Institute of Criminal Sciences, said that the situation with Bolsonaro “involves a political transgression, set out in the Law of criminal liability, that could legally give way to an impeachment”.
In accordance with the Federal Constitution, the Chamber of Deputies decides whether a report of a crime committed by president of the republic is admissible.
If it is admitted by the head of the Chamber of Deputies, the initial request is investigated by a special committee, then by the plenary and then by the Senate.
In order for the impeachment of Bolsonaro to be accepted, the process would need to be driven by the Senate under the authority of the president of the FSC, a position currently occupied by Antonio Dias Toffoli. (PL)
(Translated by Corrine Harries – Email: email@example.com)