Power

What actually constitutes an impeachable offense in Brazil?

Many have called for the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro for his mismanagement of the pandemic. But what does the law actually say on the issue?

impeachment bolsonaro brazil covid pandemic
Bolsonaro supporter sells face masks with the president’s face printed on them. Photo: Antonio Scorza/Shutterstock

Since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019, a total of 1,434 persons and 476 organizations have signed 100 impeachment petitions against him. Sixty-two are original, while 38 are duplicates. Over halfway through his term, just six of these requests have been shelved, and the rest sit on the desk of House Speaker Arthur Lira, the sole individual with jurisdiction to kick off impeachment proceedings against a sitting president.

Like in the U.S., where Congress may trial and unseat a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” Brazilian impeachment law is extremely broad, classifying impeachable offenses under the suitably...

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