New president elected for Brazil Senate
Senator Eunício Oliveira is a member of the PMDB, the Brazilian
Published in 02/02/2017 - 10:05 By Iolando Lourenço and Luciano Nascimento report from Agência Brasil* - Brasília
Senator Eunício Oliveira, a member of President Michel Temer's PMDB party, was elected president of Brazil's Senate for 2017-2018. He was the choice of 61 out of the 81 senators, a confirmation of his lead as the favorite candidate. His election gives the PMDB a 12-year reign in the Senate.
Oliveira was elected to succeed Senator Renan Calheiros, who will in turn replace him as party leader in the house.
Born in a small town in Ceará, Northeast Brazil, Eunício Oliveira left his hometown as a boy to work and study. At a young age, he moved to Brasília where he got his Business Administration and his Political Science degrees from the University Center of Brasília (CEUB).
He was a member of the old Brazilian Democracy Movement (MDB) that opposed the military dictatorship. In 1981, the movement originated the PMDB party, where Oliveira began his political career. Between 1998 and 2010, he served three terms as federal deputy for Ceará—having stepped aside to serve as Minister of Communications in 2004-2005 during the first administration of then-president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva. He was elected senator in 2011, to serve office until 2018.
Shortly before the results were announced, the incumbent president of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, addressed senators and took stock of his years in the position. He remembered critical episodes in his administration, including his suspension from the post through a Supreme Court injunction, and his subsequent reinstatement.
Calheiros made several references to the “Car Wash” corruption scandal, and called for the declassification of the plea bargain testimonies heard from the executives of Odebrecht construction company—one of the contractors involved in the scandal—which have recently admitted as evidence in the case by the Chief Justice Carmen Lúcia. “Elected representatives must not become a herd ruled by oppressive publicity,” he said, referring to the possibility of the allegations leaking to the press.
He also listed important bills passed in the past two years, the austerity measures adopted by the Senate to reduce costs and optimize investments, and the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.
Talking about the nationwide demonstrations that broke out in 2013, he recalled an episode in June 2013 when “the Senate worked with the crowd knocking at its door”, pointing out how Congress members at that time responded to popular pressure by working to pass anti-corruption bills including provisions to broaden the so-called Ficha Limpa (“Clean Slate”) Act—which bans politicians with criminal liabilities from running for office—extending it to government employees, and a bill—still pending consideration by the Chamber of Deputies—to change the punishment to judges and prosecutors that commit impeachable offenses from compulsory retirement to harsher measures.
*With additional reporting by Mariana Jungmann.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: New president elected for Brazil Senate
Edition: Fábio Massalli / Olga Bardawil