Empty Chamber Boosts Survival Chances for Brazil's Temer

  • Michel Temer first sitting president to face criminal charges
  • Temer canceled trip to G20 to monitor voting on labor bill

The Lower House plenary is seen during the reading of the request of the Supreme Court to put Brazilian President Michel Temer on trial for corruption in Brasilia on June 29.

Source: Evaristo SA via Getty Images

Only a handful of Brazilian lawmakers attended a reading of corruption charges against Michel Temer in the lower house of Congress, indicating a lack of appetite among legislators to put the embattled president on trial.

The Supreme Court on Thursday handed over the accusations to the lower house, where they were read to a plenary session and then sent to the Constitution and Justice Committee. Temer was also formally notified of the charges, which he had repeatedly denied.

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The absence of deputies at the reading suggests Temer has a good chance of survival, despite his widespread unpopularity, as two-thirds of the lower house must sign off on the charges for a trial to go ahead. Still, a lengthy and heated debate on the accusations could delay or even derail his administration’s reform agenda.

The president canceled next week’s trip to the G20 summit in Germany to a large extent to be present for a key plenary Senate vote on a labor reform bill, according to a close aide of his who asked not to be named. During Temer’s official visit to Norway and Russia last week, the same bill was defeated in the upper house.

Late on Wednesday the government seemed to fare better with more than expected support for the labor reform bill in another upper house committee. While the opposition has pledged to obstruct voting, Temer aides say legislators are backing his economic reforms despite the political crisis.

— With assistance by Gabriel Shinohara

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