Brazil′s Senate rejects court order to suspend speaker | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 07.12.2016
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Brazil's Senate rejects court order to suspend speaker

The Senate's leaders have published a letter refusing to comply with the order, saying it undermines "legislative work." In an separate case, the speaker has been accused of siphoning funds from state oil firm Petrobras.

Brazil's upper house on Tuesday rejected a Supreme Court judge's order to suspend speaker Renan Calheiros, known for driving impeachment proceedings against former President Dilma Rousseff.

"Removing the speaker of the Senate from his post nine days before the end of his … through a monocratic decision … even in Brazil, democracy does not deserve such a fate," Calheiros told reporters.

Justice Marco Aurellio de Mello on Monday ordered the injunction, citing the fact that Calheiros had been indicted last week for embezzlement, allegedly using state funds to pay for child support payments.

However, following a three-hour meeting on Tuesday, Senate leaders published a letter saying they refused to comply with the order until all 11 judges in the Supreme Court issued a ruling on the matter.

'Enormous risk'

The Senate leaders argued that Calheiro's suspension constitutes "an enormous risk to the normal function of legislative work."

The Supreme Court's plenary is expected to convene on Wednesday and issue a ruling backing the order. The judges had previously concluded that no lawmaker indicted for a crime may be in the presidential line of succession. The speaker of the Senate is third in line for the presidency.

The injunction has deepened a wide-ranging political crisis surrounding allegations of abuse of power and embezzlement.

In a separate case, Calheiros is accused of siphoning funds from the notorious state oil firm Petrobras.

ls/bw (AFP, Reuters)