How Rio’s mayor could dodge impeachment

Marcelo Crivella Rio de Janeiro
Marcelo Crivella. Photo: Rio de Janeiro City Hall

A couple of months ago, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella seemed like an afterthought. On April 2, the City Council decided to open impeachment proceedings against him in a landslide vote. The suggestion was that the three factors necessary to oust politicians in Brazil—a lack of popular support, a disgruntled group of lawmakers, and an economic crisis—were all piling up against Mr. Crivella. In 2018, he had escaped another impeachment request—but 13 councilors later flipped against him.

Mr. Crivella was accused of illegally extending advertising contracts without public bidding processes last year. Such contract extensions are common (although...

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