Brazil’s Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on Thursday whether to strip Congressman Eduardo Cunha of his status as lower house speaker, which is a position that puts him in direct line for the presidency.
The high court will meet at 2 p.m. local time to discuss a motion presented by the Sustainability Network political party, which argues that Cunha shouldn’t be so close to becoming the country’s president in light of the corruption allegations against him, the court’s press office said. Cunha has denied any wrongdoing and refuses to step down; his press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment made after normal business hours.
Cunha would take Brazil’s top job if President Dilma Rousseff, 68, and Vice President Michel Temer, 75, both step down or leave office. He temporarily takes over when the two are traveling abroad. If the impeachment proceeding against Rousseff succeeds and she is ousted, Temer would take over and Cunha would be first in line for the presidency.
The high court hasn’t set a date to rule on a separate case against Cunha, where he is accused of receiving kickbacks in a scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras. The congressman accuses the government and investigators of singling him out as part of a smear campaign.
Cunha, a member of Temer’s political party, is a leading critic of Rousseff and opened the impeachment proceedings against her last year. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the motion next week, which could result in her temporary removal from office.