After falling out with his Deputy Speaker Marcelo Ramos, Brazil’s House Speaker Arthur Lira obtained high court approval to vacate the seat of his former ally and call new internal elections. In December, Mr. Ramos left the Liberal Party after President Jair Bolsonaro joined and has gradually become more and more critical of the far-right head of state.
Mr. Lira, allied with President Bolsonaro, argued that the deputy speaker could no longer occupy his post due to the change in party allegiance. Mr. Ramos now belongs to the Social Democratic Party, which is beginning to lean more towards election frontrunner and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
A ruling from the Superior Electoral Court last month stated that Mr. Ramos should be allowed to retain his office, but that decision has since been altered, stating that the decisions around who should occupy leadership positions in the House are strictly the jurisdiction of the legislative branch.
However, within the House, interlocutors suggested Mr. Lira was working to get rid of Mr. Ramos regardless, suggesting he would be willing to directly violate a high court ruling. The move to alter the decision is being treated as a way to avoid out-and-out conflict between the two branches of government.