The debate on Deputy Jovair Arantes's report recommending the president's removal, held by the lower house special committee convened to rule whether Rousseff's impeachment petition is legal, lasted up to the early hours of Saturday (Apr. 9). Sixty-one Congress members took part in the 13-hour-long session: 39 argued for the document drafted by Arantes, and 21 against; only one representative remained neutral.
Even though the discussion was not decisive, the outcome made Rousseff's disadvantage clear. In the view of Deputy Sílvio Costa, the government's second in command, the government is in no conditions to win the dispute in the committee. He guaranteed, however, that oppositionists will not gather enough vote in the plenary session to accept the impeachment process and submit it to the Senate.
“There's no hope in the commission. But the opposition holds no sway over the whole house. You people who believe in democracy, rest assured that they won't be able to gather 342 votes next Sunday,” Costa said. “Dilma will not fall, because she's not corrupt, she has a party and a social base,” he added.
Impeachment x Coup
The speeches, which stretched into the night, revolved around the same axis: for government supporters, giving the proceedings a go-ahead means launching a coup, as they believe she committed no impeachable offense. The opposition, on the other hand, maintains she is no longer in conditions to rule the country, and argue therefore that her ouster is a genuine move.
That was the opinion of PMDB Deputy Carlos Marun: “Dilma's defense is founded on lies, lies, lies. [Attorney-General] José Eduardo Cardozo came here and showed an empty defense. If Dilma's honest, she's incapable.”
“The denunciation is empty and biased,” argued Deputy Carlos Zaratini, of the PT. “Whenever a popular rule was overthrown, it wasn't done through political debate, but rather through false pretenses blown up in the media. That's what happened to Getúlio Vargas, that's what happened in 1964, that's what happened to Juscelino Kubitschek. The opposition want to mount a coup, and seize power without the vote; they want to turn the floor vote into an indirect election,” Zaratini added.
Despite the polarization, the debate at the committee was held without significant dissent.
In the next committee session, slated for Monday (11) at 10 am, Deputy Jovair Arantes will rebut the arguments opposing his report. The leaders of all 27 parties represented in the Chamber of Deputies will have a chance to comment on the report and give instructions to their lawmakers. President Dilma Rousseff's defense will be given an opportunity to have its final remarks. The vote on the committee's report is scheduled to start Monday at 5 pm.
The rules of the game
The 15-session time limit for the committee's ruling on Rousseff's ouster ends next Monday (11). This is why the Friday session was necessary, with over a hundred legislators waiting for their turn to speak.
Traditionally, the lower house does not hold floor sessions on Mondays and Fridays, since the presence of at least 51 deputies is required for sessions to start. However, lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha decided on having daily sessions, thus speeding up the analysis of the case concerning Dilma Rousseff's impeachment.
*Iolando Lourenço contributed to this article.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Agência Brasil.