In a stunning development, the acting President of the Chamber of Deputies, Waldir Maranhão, has annulled the Chamber of Deputies’ vote to impeach Dilma Rousseff last month. It’s not so much that this is unexpected as it is something almost nobody seriously even imagined could be a possibility, as most expected the process to continue through the Senate without any interruptions.
Of course, Maranhão is the interim President of the Chamber of Deputies because the former president, Eduardo Cunha, was forced to vacate his position after Brazil’s Supreme Court unanimously upheld his removal for charges of corruption (charges with a much greater basis than anything the opposition has ever brought against Dilma). And certainly, when nearly everybody (with the exception of about 10 or so deputies) who voted for impeachment did so without even considering or addressing the charges brought forth, the vote was, suffice to say, irregular indeed. (And that’s ignoring the reality that over half of those who voted are themselves tied directly to their own political, fiscal, and legal scandals.)
That’s not to say this means the whole thing will grind to a halt. Perhaps the Senate decides to move on with the process, saying what’s done is done, and Dilma faces impeachment still. It seems more likely that the Supreme Court will be involved one way or another, be it to weigh in on the possibility of annulling an impeachment hearing over what irregularities in the Chamber of Deputies vote, or on the Senate’s ability to proceed of the Chamber wants to revoke its actions, or on any other number of accounts.
These are just preliminary thoughts, and I’ll likely have more as this continues to unfold. That said, this possibility was entirely inconceivable up until about an hour ago, and yet here we are, with another impossible wrinkle in the ongoing process in impeachment of Dilma. One thing is certain right now: Brazilian politics are never dull.