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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The interim Chamber of Deputies president in Brazil, Waldir Maranhão, decided during the early hours of Tuesday morning to revoke the decision he made Monday morning which could have led Brazil deeper into political chaos. Maranhão announced he was revoking his decision to annul the Chamber’s approval of the impeachment process of President Dilma Rousseff.

Brazil, Brasilia, Interim Chamber President Waldir Maranhão, gives press conference to explain annulment decision
Interim Chamber President Waldir Maranhão, gives press conference to explain annulment decision, photo by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil.

Brazilians were stunned Monday morning when the interim president of Brazil’s Lower House announced that he was annulling the mid-April voting sessions at the Chamber of Deputies that approved the impeachment of President Rousseff.

According to the interim president, there were regimental errors in the procedures leading up to the vote and the process, already at the Senate, needed to be returned to the Lower House for another vote.

Financial markets reacted immediately to the news with the Brazilian real depreciating by more than four percent against the US dollar before paring back its losses. At the São Paulo Stock Exchange, the Bovespa registered declines of three percent during the day before closing down by 1.41 percent.

Both international and Brazilian analysts reeled at the news. “The decision by the acting leader of Brazil’s lower house of congress to annul the vote that impeached the country’s President, Dilma Rousseff, has thrown the process into chaos and left Brazil on the cusp of a constitutional crisis,” said Neil Shearing, Chief Emerging Markets Economist at Capital Economics.

Brazil’s Senate President, Renan Calheiros, stood his ground, stating that he was disregarding Maranhão’s decision and that the Upper House would continue with the impeachment process. The Senate is expected to vote on President Rousseff’s suspension from office on Wednesday. According to political analysts it is almost certain that the Brazilian Senate will vote for the suspension of Rousseff while it conducts the impeachment trial.

Back at the Chamber of Deputies, opposition leaders called for the ousting of the new interim president, while legislators from his own PP party called for his expulsion. With the overwhelming negative reaction, Maranhão backed down, and a little after midnight sent a note both to the Chamber and the Senate stating that he was reversing his decision about the annulment. Maranhão did not offer any explanation for his reversal.

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