Power

Calls for a semi-presidential system in Brazil: profound change, or diversion tactics?

House Speaker Arthur Lira is under immense pressure to launch impeachment proceedings against his close ally, President Bolsonaro. In a bid to change the subject, he is now pushing for a radical change in Brazil's political system

From left to right: Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco (at the microphone), President Bolsonaro, and House Speaker Arthur Lira. Photo: Alan Santos/PR presidential
From left to right: Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco (at the microphone), President Bolsonaro, and House Speaker Arthur Lira. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

While there are over 100 requests pending in Congress to impeach Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro — with over 50 percent of the population in favor of opening ousting proceedings against the embattled leader — all efforts to remove the president come up against one, seemingly immovable object.

The only person in Brasília with the power to launch impeachment proceedings against a sitting president is the House Speaker. And incumbent Arthur Lira, it seems, is not for turning.

Elected to his post with the backing of Mr. Bolsonaro back in February, Mr. Lira has become the government’s most important ally,...

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