By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Yesterday Brasilia registered a wave of meetings and late-night dinners as both government allies and opposition try to garner votes from representatives of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, which today (Wednesday August 2nd) are deciding whether or not to accept corruption charges against President Michel Temer.
The government needs 172 votes to win the vote. The opposition, on the other hand, needs two-thirds of the 513 votes (342) to reject the opinion approved by the Chamber’s Commission on Constitution and Justice which voted to dismiss the complaint against Temer for passive corruption.
President Temer exonerated ten of his cabinet secretaries who have Congressional seats, sending them back to the Lower House and vote for the dismissal of the charges. According to officials the government has enough votes to stop charges from going to the Senate.
“We have enough quorum to halt any charges in the (Chamber) plenary. I defend that whoever is at the base of the government, stand in favor of the country, taking this stone out of the way, ” stated government ally Representative Beto Mansur on Monday to reporters.
Both government and opposition leaders went all out to convince lawmakers to vote their way. After a full day of meetings with representatives at the Presidential Palace, President Temer is said to have dined with several representatives at the house of Chamber of Deputies vice-president, Fábio Ramalho.
In June, Brazil’s top federal prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, filed corruption charges against President Michel Temer after businessman Joesley Batista revealed that he had paid President Temer’s close ally, Rodrigo Santos da Rocha Loures R$500,000 in bribes in the name of President Temer.
If the Chamber rejects the Commission’s opinion, Temer will be suspended for 180 days while the Senate judges the merit of the accusations and decides whether or not to impeach him. This is the second time in less than eighteen months that charges against a Brazilian leader has been brought to Congress. Last September, President Dilma Rousseff was impeached after being accused of mismanagement of public funds.