By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – On Tuesday (October 17th) the Senate in Brazil overturned by 44 votes to 26 a Supreme Court decision that suspended Senator Aecio Neves from his legislative seat. The decision comes after a week of tension between Brazil’s Highest Court and the Senate, as senators accused Justices of meddling into legislative affairs.
“The decision reinstated essential principles of a Democratic State, guaranteeing both the full representation of the people and due process of law, assuring the senator the opportunity to present his defense and fully prove in court his innocence in relation to the false accusations he was subjected to,” stated the note released by Neves’ cabinet after the decision.
Both government allies and opposition senators voted for the reinstatement and a few on medical leave even came back to Congress just to be able to vote in Tuesday’s session.
“Democracy is the regime of rights,” said Romero Jucá, one of President Temer’s closest allies in Congress. “I respect the powers, but I understand that no power is greater than the other.”
Some senators, however, criticized the results, stating that many of those voting to reinstate the former presidential candidate are also being investigated for corruption, bribery and wrongdoings.
“Installed corporatism establishes as a rule the defense of its members, not the defense of the institution. We are against what Brazilian society wants,” said Senator Alvaro Dias, one of the senators who voted to maintain the Court’s decision.
“It looks bad for the institution [Senate]. In defense of one of its members, the majority condemned the institution,” he concluded.
In September, Neves was suspended of his legislative post by the Supreme Court after prosecutors accused Neves of passive corruption, obstruction of justice and asking for R$2 million in bribes from former JBS CEO Joesley Batista in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) graft.