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Brasilia (AFP) – The Brazilian Congress elects this Wednesday the presidents of both chambers, decisive for the governability of the president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in an act with reinforced security after the attacks on the headquarters of public powers in Brasilia.
Elected in October, the new Congress (2023-2027) that is installed is even further to the right than the previous one, a challenge to the reform program of the leftist Lula da Silva.
In Brazil, the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, who are renewed every two years, determine the voting agenda. The leader of the Lower House, in fact the third authority in the country after the president and vice president, decides whether to admit impeachment requests or whether to keep them in a drawer, among many other functions.
It is already taken for granted that Arthur Lira, a figure of what is known as “Centrao” (the great center), an informal coalition of conservative parties known for negotiating votes in exchange for positions or investments for their constituencies.
Rodrigo Pacheco, of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), is the favorite to be re-elected as head of the Senate but could run into the candidacy of Rogério Marinho, of the Liberal Party (PL) of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.
The PL will have 99 of the 513 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the largest bench any party has had since 1998. In the Senate, which renewed a third of its 81 seats in the elections, it will be the second force with 13, behind the PSD, which recruited new senators in the last few hours.
Lula is aware of the political reality: “We do not rule in Congress, we depend on Congress,” he told his ministers last month.
The fragmentation of the Chambers, with no less than 23 parties, will also make it difficult for the Government to negotiate with the Legislature.
Lira told the GloboNews channel that he has a “calm and friendly” relationship with Lula.
For his part, Bolsonaro said on Tuesday during a public appearance at an event in Orlando (United States), that the election in the Senate is “very important.”
“It represents, depending on who wins, the return to normality, a certain pacification. We have hope in the election of Marinho,” said the far-right, who also expressed his intention to continue in politics.
Before the respective elections of the heads of both Chambers, the elected deputies took office, amid protests by some Bolsonaro parliamentarians against the possible election of Pacheco in the Senate.
The deputies, including Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of the former president, raised signs inside the compound with the phrase “Pacheco Não” (Pacheco no).
The inauguration of the legislators takes place in the midst of a strong security operation, less than a month after the riot in Brasilia carried out by thousands of radicalized followers of Bolsonaro.
“We will be ready to act in various scenarios, from the simplest to the most complex, if necessary,” said the secretary of Public Security of Brasilia, Sandro Avelar, quoted in a statement.
The accesses to the Esplanade of the Ministries, where the Congress, the presidential palace and the Federal Supreme Court are located, are closed to traffic, and access is only allowed to authorized persons, the note details.
On January 8, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters who were dissatisfied with Lula’s victory over the far-right ex-president in the October presidential elections invaded the headquarters of public powers.
They razed part of the infrastructure, smashed furniture and priceless works of art, and left behind graffiti calling for a coup.
More than 2,000 people were arrested, and almost a quarter of them have already been charged.
At the annual opening of the work of the Federal Supreme Court, the president of the court, Rosa Weber, promised this Wednesday that the culprits of the riot “will be held accountable with the rigor of the law”, while she assured that Brazilian democracy continues “unwavering”.
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