By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – With the start of February comes the end of the legislative and judiciary recess in Brazil. On Wednesday Brazilian Supreme Court Chief Justice is expected to choose the Justice who will take over the Lava Jato cases. In addition, Brazilian Congressional representatives will choose both Chamber of Deputies and Senate Presidents this week.
The most controversial election among the three (Senate, Chamber, Supreme Court) this week, however, is in the Chamber of Deputies, where interim president Rodrigo Maia has been campaigning persistently to become permanent president of the Lower House in 2017.
“I’m putting my name on it [voting ballot]. Since the end of last year, I have been trying to build an alliance, which now has the support of the majority of the government’s allied base,” said Maia to journalists on Tuesday.
Critics, however, say that due to the Chamber’s rules, Maia can not be re-elected to the seat, but Maia claims he was just substituting disgraced representative, Eduardo Cunha, who was ousted from his Congressional seat in September 2016 after being accused of lying to a Congressional committee about having Swiss bank accounts.
Although there are three other representatives also running for the highest seat in the Lower House, Rodrigo Maia is likely to continue on as president, due to the support of the PMDB party.
With the untimely death of Supreme Justice Teori Zavascki last month, Chief Justice, Carmen Lucia Rocha is expected to hold an electronic lottery to see which of the judges will take over cases being heard by Justice Zavascki, in particular the Lava Jato plea bargains.
Earlier this week, Rocha ratified the 77 depositions given by Odebrecht executives in the investigation. Most of the depositions had already been analyzed by Zavascki and his team.
In the Senate, Senator Eunicio Oliveira, from President Temer’s PMDB party, is likely to win easily the presidency of the Upper House. Traditionally, the election follows the rule of proportionality of party seats, and since the PMDB has the largest number of senators it is likely that Oliveira will be nominated.
Senator Renan Calheiros, who is stepping down as Senate president, is likely to accept his party’s nominee to become majority leader.