Global Independent Analytics

Brazil judge strips Lula of office amid mounting political crisis

Brazilian Supreme Court justice says Lula tries to avoid imprisonment for corruption by appointing to cabinet

Bruce Douglas for The Guardian reports:  A supreme court judge in Brazil has blocked the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s appointment to cabinet, paving the way for him to face corruption charges in court.

Judge Gilmar Mendez suspected that Brazil’s former President apparently tried to avoid facing corruption charges. Lula’s appointment to cabinet means that only the Supreme Court will be able to investigate his crimes, thus placing him beyond the reach of a judge who is investigating the large corruption case at state-run Petrobras oil company. The judge said that Lula’s attempts to violate the constitution and to escape preventative arrest are clear.Douglas continues: It puts an end, temporarily at least, to the legal ping-pong of the past 36 hours that saw Lula win and lose ministerial status several times, as judges from across Brazil filed over 50 injunctions against his appointment to cabinet.

The solicitor-general, José Eduardo Cardozo, said the government would appeal Mendes’ decision to the entire supreme court.

The court’s next meeting is scheduled for 30 March.”

The court’s ruling to block Lula’s appointment came several minutes after his speech in front of more than 95,000 people in São Paulo’s Avenida Paulista. While speaking, he tried to hold a conciliatory attitude and avoided to criticize his opponents. Lula stated that he only acquired a government position to help Rousseff for the remaining years of her mandate.

“Many of those present at the rally criticised the coverage of this week’s developments by TV Globo, Brazil’s dominant television network that thrived during the country’s period of military rule from 1964-1985. In contrast to the extensive airtime given to the opposition protests over the past week, the coverage of Friday’s demonstrations – thought to have included 275,000 people across the country – was relatively low-key.,” assumes Douglas.

Earlier that day to avoid confrontation between different groups of demonstrators, anti-government protesters were driven away from the streets by police using water cannons. However, opposition activists mostly were not present in the São Paulo streets.

Protesters also crowded the streets of Brasília, where pro-government activists marched towards Congress where at the time impeachment of Rousseff was discussed. The president has the right to present her defense in a row of 10 lower house sessions before the meeting of the special impeachment committee will occur. Her fate is anticipated to be decided by mid-April.

“The case against her centres on allegations that Rousseff broke budget rules to boost spending as she campaigned for re-election in 2014. Lula and Rousseff both deny any wrongdoing.

Rousseff’s main coalition party, the fractious Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), has brought forward to March 29 a meeting of its executive to decide whether to break with her government and seek her impeachment,” concludes Douglas.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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