Rio de Janeiro's city council has suspended its recess in order to open discussions about the possibility of impeaching city mayor Marcelo Crivella of the Brazilian Republican Party, (PRB) which forms the ally coalition to Brazil's senate-imposed President Michel Temer.
Seventeen councilmen and women from eight different opposition political parties interrupted the official recession to call a vote on Thursday to determine if the impeachment process will begin, according to Agencia Brasil.
Crivella, an Evangelical pastor who has governed the city of Rio de Janeiro for just one year and a half, is being accused of misconduct in office.
In November 2017, Edimar Moreira Dantas, who worked for the Federation of Enterprises of Passenger Transport of the State of Rio de Janeiro, accused Crivella of receiving R$450,000 (approximately US$118,000) in bribes between 2010 and 2012. In 2010 Crivella was elected a state senator, however, he did not campaign for re-election in 2012. The money transfers allegedly took place in an office in Candelaria neighborhood where Crivella's campaign offices were located.
Faced with possible impeachment, Crivella met with Evangelical religious leaders last week to offer their congregations cataract and varicose vein surgeries through the National Health System (SUS).
He also suggested the possibility of collaborating with the religious leaders to obtain exemptions from paying the Municipal Real Estate Tax on their churches.
Opposition lawmakers are convinced that Crivella's “sin” was having met with the religious leaders inside the City Palace, which is one of the official headquarters of city hall. They are confident that city council galleries will be filled with supporters who will put added pressure on undecided councilmen and women to vote in favor of initiating impeachment hearings. Thirty-four votes are needed to start the process.