The ten-session deadline allowed for President Dilma Rousseff to present a defense from impeachment to the special committee set up in the Chamber of Deputies begins today (Mar. 18). The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, opened the first of the ten sessions. In only a few minutes, over 60 deputies were present at the session, more than the minimum quorum of 51.
Cunha confirmed that the sessions on Monday (21), Tuesday and Wednesday, which precede a long weekend, when Congress meetings are traditionally empty, will take place. Yesterday, he had announced that the committee that will hear the impeachment proceeding will work “at full speed”, but noted that depending on the time it will take government to argue its case, things could get slower.
Attendance at Friday and Monday sessions of the Chamber of Deputies has been below quorum for more than six months. The session of March 21 is expected to reach quorum, because it is an extraordinary session. “There was a scheduled deliberative session on Monday, so we'll be there to vote. This had all been agreed already,” Cunha said.
He said the committee should work with “calmly but swiftly,” and reaffirmed the committee's deliberations will have “limited weight”, and the final decision lies with the full chamber on the floor. “I have learned from the government's leader that they are planning to present an early defense. This would be a good thing for [expediting] the process. It will be a win-win if things happen quickly. [The deadline] may end earlier. If we keep getting quorums on Mondays and Wednesdays, things could take as short as 30 days,” he said.
“We have reached quorum today. This means one day closer to impeachment and one day down into the deadline the president will have to begin her defense. If things go along as we expect, we could be ready to bring impeachment to a floor vote on April 13-14 or so,” said Antonio Imbassahy, leader of PSDB opposition party.
According to him, there has been an alliance to ensure they will keep up pace. “We've come up with sort of quorum calendar, today has been the first day, and the first test went well. We're absolutely convinced that deputies will not fail their duties and will reach quorum next Wednesday as well, on Fridays and Mondays to come.”
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.