Aug. 3 (UPI) — Brazil’s congress has voted to keep President Michel Temer away from a corruption prosecution, which would have been the country’s second presidential trial in two years.
A marathon congressional session on Wednesday included insults and shoving matches between legislators, and the tossing of fake money to underscore disgust with government corruption.
Temer won the support of 263 legislators; 227 voted against him, with 23 absentees or abstentions. A two-thirds majority was required to move ahead with a trial.
Temer assumed office last year after former president Dilma Rousseff herself became mired in a corruption case, and ultimately impeached for diverting funds from state-run banks to conceal federal budget shortfalls. Temer, whose public approval rating currently stands at about 5 percent, was accused of accepting a $152,000 bribe from a food industry magnate.
The vote Wednesday does not exonerate Temer, but keeps him in office. Rodrigo Janet, Brazil’s top prosecutor, is expected to file new charges against the Brazilian leader — which would require another congressional vote for the case to proceed.
Some of those who voted in Temer’s favor are eager for his removal but opposed a trial to keep Brazil from additional political instability and economic consequences.
“I am in favor of all investigations, but the moment we are living in is very delicate and we need to recover the economy,” said legislator Luiz Claudio of the center-right Republic Party.
Brazilians watched Wednesday’s drama on national television, which pre-empted the country’s favorite soap opera program.