By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Congress begins its scheduled legislative recess on Wednesday, December 23rd, only returning in early February 2016 to continue to discuss the start of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff and the possible ousting of Chamber of Deputies president, Eduardo Cunha.
Until the beginning of the week the Rousseff Administration had tried to shorten the recess, suggesting that congressional representatives return in mid-January. “Due to the period facing Brazil, it would be very positive if both Houses were to have a shorter recess, (Congressional representatives) returning to work on January 4th. We have an impeachment process which can not be dragged out,” Chief of Staff Jacques Wagner is said to have stated last week according to Agencia Brasil.
The president of the Chamber of Deputies, however, discarded the idea on Monday.“It can’t be done,” said Cunha to reporters on Monday. “One can not, on January 10th decide to end the recess. Any changes must be voted on by both Houses and (favorable votes) have to be of an absolute majority.”
While for the Administration an early return of legislators would be beneficial, for Cunha, say analysts, the longer the recess period the better. According to political analysts, the period will give the Chamber president more time to prepare for his defense. Cunha is accused of receiving bribes, money-laundering and passive corruption in the Lava-Jato (Carwash) scandal. Last week the Chamber’s Ethics Committee accepted the process against Cunha. The representative stated that he would appeal to the Supreme Court and the Chamber’s Constitution and Justice Commission.