By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian congressional representatives are scheduled to return to work this week and will have to face a wave of controversial issues already at the beginning of 2016. In addition to processes involving the possible impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, representatives in Brasilia will also have to discuss ousting Chamber of Deputies Speaker, Eduardo Cunha and PT Senator Delcidio do Amaral.
The legislative year will start with at least eleven parliamentary investigative commissions resuming their sessions, with issues ranging from soccer to HSBC operations, youth assassinations to cyber crimes.
The Chamber of Deputies however, should focus its attention on the on-going debate of whether or not to open up an impeachment process against President Rousseff.
On December 2nd, 2015, the speaker of the Lower House, Eduardo Cunha, accepted a request to open impeachment proceedings against the country’s leader, stating there was evidence that the President had violated Brazil’s fiscal laws and manipulated government finances.
The group of representatives chosen to begin the process, however, was disbanded by the country’s Supreme Court hours later, and Congress is still waiting for the Judges to decide on the installation of a commission.
With the return of federal representatives to Brasilia, discussion at the Ethics Council in the Lower House about a possible breach in decorum by speaker Cunha is also bound to grab delegates’ attention. Cunha is accused of receiving bribes, money-laundering and passive corruption in the Lava-Jato (Carwash) scandal.
In the Senate, the Ethics Council is likely to continue to discuss the fate of Senator Delcidio do Amaral, arrested at the end of November by the Federal Police in the Lava-Jato (Carwash) scandal. Amaral, leader of Rousseff’s PT party in the Senate, is accused of offering to pay the family of former Petrobras director Nestor Cervero a monthly stipend and plan to get the executive out of the country in return for his silence. Amaral is said to have been part of a corruption scheme related to Petrobras’ purchase of a plant in Pasadena, California.
The first session of the legislative year will be a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.