Brazil: Vote For Corruption Trial Doesn’t Get Enough Support

Brazil's interim President Michel Temer reacts during ceremony for the new rules of the program "Minha Casa Minha Vida" at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

The Brazilian congress has voted and decided not to put its current president, Michel Temer, on trial for corruption. Opposition lawmakers needed two thirds of the vote but didn’t get enough. The case would have been sent to the Supreme Court if it received the majority.

Mr. Temer, who became Brazil’s president last year after Dilma Rousseff was impeached, has been accused of receiving millions in bribes from a meatpacking company. The president has denied the allegations, which came shortly after he took office.

The vote on Wednesday was not close to reaching the two thirds needed. Of the 513 seats, 227 voted in favor of the trial while 263 voted against it. 342 votes were needed to send the case to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Temer spoke about the vote shortly after and said that with the support he has been given, they will pass all the reforms that Brazil needs.

The vote by congress comes just weeks after former president Lula da Silva was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. The former president, who was attempting to make a return to politics, is facing other charges of corruption.

Before the vote, things got out of control when congressmen began arguing. At one point, congressmen began pushing each other and throwing fake money. One congressman asked for Temer to be removed from office and to hold elections. Some legislators also held inflatable dolls depicting Lula da Silva as a prisoner. The dolls shown by legislators angered supporters of Silva, who was once one of the most popular leaders in South America.

Legislators were divided by the vote, with some agreeing that there should be an investigation but also mentioning that Brazil currently needs to solve its political crisis and economy.

Mr. Temer, who took office last year, has vowed to complete his term, which ends next year. Mr. Temer said after the session by the congress that the vote was clear and incontestable.