By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the early morning hours of July 14th, Rodrigo Maia was elected president of the Chamber of Deputies, defeating congressman Roger Rosso by a vote of 285 to 170. Maia (DEM-RJ) takes on the position after the resignation of former president of the house Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ), and will serve the “buffer” term until February of next year.
In his fifth term, Maia at age 46, is the son of the former mayor of Rio de Janeiro César Maia, and has presided over the Democrats in the state, and was twice leader of the national party. If the Senate confirms the definitive departure of President Dilma Rousseff, then Rodrigo Maia becomes the second in line for leadership of Brazil, after interim president Temer.
After the announcement of the results, some deputies shouted “Fora, Cunha!” (Out, Cunha!). In reference to the fact Rosso was supported by Deputy Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ), who was suspended last month while he is under investigation in the Lava Jato (Carwash) mega-corruption scandal, while architecting the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.
The new house president Maia said he will rule simply to pacify the plenary. “I came here very young, have the opportunity to be presiding over the work, being one of the 513 deputies who, along with me, will command the House. We will from tomorrow govern with simplicity,” he told the press.
The new house president promised to bring the dialogue between the majority and the minority together. “We have much work to do, pacify this plenary, dialogue, most with minority, we have a majority government that is important for Brazil, but we have an agenda of society that comes through each of us that needs to be debated, discussed and voted,” he said.
Maia also thanked Rosso, the defeated candidate, and said the campaigning was ‘clean’. “It was a clean race, it is politics and so it has to be,” he said. After the result, Rosso said parliament wins with Maia victory, adding, “I think his great task will be to unite the House, all the members.”
Meanwhile the Committee on Constitution and Justice (CCJ) of the House reconvened this morning to consider the appeal of the former house president Cunha. Cunha has been accused of possessing Swiss bank accounts that were never reported to Brazil’s federal revenue service or Congress and which, according to prosecutors, may be linked to the largest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history, the Lava Jato (Carwash).