Next week, Brazil will face a new wave of political turmoil. Attorney General Rodrigo Janot will ask the Brazilian Supreme Court to indict President Michel Temer for corruption, obstruction of justice and criminal association. The request, however, must first have the approval of two-thirds of the House. With his coalition intact, the government believes it has secured more than 300 favorable votes (out of 513).
The indictment request will test Michel Temer’s political strength and show how loyal his support in Congress actually is. So, what might happen next week?
The case against President Temer
The president faces charges of corruption, obstruction of justice and criminal association. The indictment request will accuse Temer of allowing Joesley Batista to bribe former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha in exchange for his silence. For decades, Cunha coordinated corruption schemes within the president’s party. If he decides to collaborate with the investigations, it could lead to the government’s implosion. That’s a big if, though.
Moreover, Batista recorded his conversations with the president and other politicians and presented it as evidence.
Supreme Court forwards the request to the House
After a quick analysis, the STF will forward the request to the House of Representatives. The Constitution and Justice Commission then starts a proceeding. Temer will have a chance to defend himself, and the Rapporteur will present his report. Subsequently, the indictment request is voted on by all congressmen. To authorize the indictment, two-thirds of the House have to vote favorably.
Protecting the President
The procedure was designed to protect the president from federal prosecution. Therefore, handing the decision over to the representatives would guarantee that the president has a fair chance to defend himself. And that the Supreme Court will not make any decisions alone.
One more round for Michel Temer
Even if the House allows the indictment, there is still one more vote. This time, the eleven justices must decide if the STF will accept the Attorney-General’s office request. Once that happens, Michel Temer has to step down from office for up to six months – or before that, if the STF reaches a verdict.
Showdown between Michel Temer and Rodrigo Janot
One of the developing stories of this political drama is the battle between President Temer and Attorney-General Rodrigo Janot. Janot seems determined to bring down the current government, and he has evidence to do it. Temer, fearing the Public Attorney’s office independence and taste for investigating politicians, is ready to contain Janot. In September, a new attorney-general will be elected.
The president has the prerogative to choose his candidate. Michel Temer’s pick will probably favor someone less interested in going after the political establishment. The government’s allies hope this will put an end to the nightmare called Operation Car Wash.