Bolsonaro loses Senate whip following political defeat

Senate whip accounts
Senator Fernando Bezerra. Photo: Waldemir Barreto/SF/CC-BY 4.0

Senator Fernando Bezerra has stepped down from his role as the government’s Senate whip after being soundly beaten in an election for a seat on the Federal Accounts Court, which monitors public spending. Mr. Bezerra got only seven votes from his peers — with Kátia Abreu getting 19 and Antônio Anastasia being elected with 32.

The result flabbergasted the government, which expected at least 35 votes for Mr. Bezerra. But the support of Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco in favor of Mr. Anastasia proved decisive. 

Messrs. Pacheco and Anastasia are linked in multiple ways, both are from the state of Minas Gerais and are members of the Social Democratic Party (PSD). But, more decisively, Mr. Anastasia’s understudy Alexandre Silveira is a keen ally of Mr. Pacheco’s, charged with keeping the books on the designated to senators. 

Mr. Bezerra said he felt “betrayed” by the government’s support base in Congress, after his dismal vote count. His replacement is yet to be determined. Despite being an unequivocal loss, it could be advantageous for the government not to have Mr. Bezerra its whip, as the senator faces corruption investigations.