While in the U.S. the VP is the president of the Senate, in Brazil they’re elected by the senators.
The Brazilian congress members elected in 2018 took the oath of office just yesterday, 1, and already had to elect the presidents of the House of the Representatives and the Senate (Câmara dos Deputados and Senado).
In the HoR, all the 513 members of the House vote to decide who’s gonna be the president for the next two years (2019-20). The candidate who gets the absolute majority of the votes is elected in the first round, if that doesn’t happen, the most voted candidate and the second place go to the second round, where a simple majority guarantees the presidency.
The Senate follows basically the same rules, but there’s a deadlock. There are two main groups fighting for the presidency, the one supporting Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL), and the supporters of Davi Alcolumbre (DEM-AP), even though his candidacy isn’t official. Alcolumbre has recently been named acting president because an official candidate can’t run the house, like Calheiros. And what about the deadlock?
Calheiros is running for his fifth time as the president of the Senate, and some of his colleagues think that another Renan mandate would be dangerous for the country. According to G1, Calheiros could pass the Social Security Reform bill, but would hold the anti-corruption bills. That’s why the majority of the senators doesn’t want the voting to be secret: it could encourage part of the senators to reelect Calheiros and his irresponsible agenda.
Yesterday, during the reunion that would elect the president, 50 of the 53 senators who were in the house decided that the voting should be public, leading a Calheiros supporter, Katia Abreu (PDT-TO), to steal the acting president’s folder and the documents inside of it.
After over three hours of debate, the acting president suspended the reunion. Late at night, at around 3 A.M., a Supreme Court judge, Dias Toffoli, ruled that the decision saying that the voting should be public was illegal, therefore, it should be secret.
Brazilians stormed out and couldn’t watch a few men tear down the Republic. By 11 o’clock this morning, the top 5 Twitter trending topics were about the Supreme Court decision, the Senate debate or a protest against Renan Calheiros.
- #STFVergonhaNacional: “The Supreme Court is a Shame”;
- #ExorcismoDoRenan: “The Exorcism of Renan (Calheiros)”;
- #RenanCalheirosNao: “Say No to Renan Calheiros”;
- #IgnoremOToffoli: “Ignore Toffoli (Supreme Court judge)”;
- #STFnaoMandaNoSenado: “The Supreme Court doesn’t rule the Senate”.
It’s clear the people are tired of the same old politics and politicians, but can the senators feel it? This morning, Alcolumbre left his place as acting president and the oldest senator, José Maranhão (MDB-PB), took it. Maranhão is a Calheiros supporter, but a deal between him and Alcolumbre had been previously made saying that he wouldn’t change the decision made by the vast majority of the senators yesterday.