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News > Latin America

Brazilian Lawmakers Look to Expel Congress Head from Leadership

  • The head of Congress Eduardo Cunha has been charged with corruption and money laundering.

    The head of Congress Eduardo Cunha has been charged with corruption and money laundering. | Photo: REUTERS

Published 27 August 2015

The head of Congress who has led impeachment efforts against President Dilma Rousseff now finds himself in trouble.

Over 30 Brazilian lawmakers signed a letter published Thursday requesting that Eduardo Cunha, the head of Congress, be removed from his leadership position.

Last week, Cunha was charged with corruption and money laundering by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot for his role in the Petrobras fraud scheme.

“In this case, Cunha is officially charged with criminal activity. After the attorney general's charge, the situation has become unsustainable for the lawmaker, who has already shown he used the power of his position in his own defense, to preside Congress,” reads the letter, which highlights Cunha's parliamentary immunity.

According to Janot, Eduardo Cunha from the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) earned US$5 million from the Petrobras scheme.

The head of Congress claimed, before being officially charged, that he had been framed by the Workers Party (PT) government and backed away from his party's alliance with the PT.

RELATED: Understanding Brazil's Political Crisis

Cunha has led criticism against President Rousseff and supports her impeachment. He has also backed a proposal for a Constitutional reform that would modify Brazil's presidential government to a parliamentarian model. 

The leader of the opposition and former presidential candidate Aecio Neves, from the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), also criticized Cunha and admitted the charges against him are severe.

RELATED: Mass Media Supports Conservative Ideology in Brazil: Analyst

Despite breaking the silence over the allegations against the controversial head of Congress, the former presidential candidate did not join the 35 lawmakers who signed the letter.

“With the acceptance of the charges by the Supreme (Court), it would strip (Cunha) from the minimum condition to head the Deputies Chamber (Congress),” said Neves.

Cunha has 15 days to write a response to Janot's accusation. The Supreme Court of Justice will then have to decide if the case proceeds.

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