The president of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, Rodrigo Maia, called on Tuesday for greater harmony between the three powers to defeat the coronavirus, called for “preserving democracy” and defended the role of the press, in a speech with several critical messages towards President Jair Bolsonaro.
The head of the Lower House made a statement before the start of a virtual session in which he demanded “to pacify the spirits” in the midst of the pandemic, which has left almost 23,500 dead and nearly 375,000 confirmed cases in the country.
“Our great challenge is to defeat the coronavirus and overcome the looming social and economic crisis, preserving our democracy, I repeat, preserving our democracy,” he said.
The health crisis has generated serious tensions between Parliament and Bolsonaro, which denies the danger of the disease, censors quarantines and has participated in recent weeks in protests calling for the closure of Congress and the Supreme Court.
“It must be clear that quarantine, social isolation, are not to blame for bringing down the economy. It is the virus that is bringing down the economy; the momentary distancing of people saves lives,” Maia stressed.
The deputy also referred to the Supreme Court and affirmed that Congress “respects and complies with judicial decisions,” although he sometimes disagrees with them.
Bolsonaro also maintains a pulse with the country’s highest court, which has paralyzed some of his initiatives and supervises an investigation against him conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office for alleged political and illegal “interference” in the Federal Police, which in turn investigates two of the ruler’s sons.
The instructor of the case in the Supreme Court, Celso de Mello, asked the Federal Public Ministry to evaluate whether it is necessary to seize the cell phone of the head of state to continue the investigations.
However, the far-right leader has already warned that he “would never hand over” his cell phone, even if ordered by justice.
Maia also highlighted in her speech the importance of a “free” press for the “consolidation of democracy”, in another implicit allusion to the position of the ruler.
Bolsonaro maintains a position of constant confrontation with the country’s major media, which he perceives as an “enemy” trying to overthrow his government.
“Brazilians demand from us work and respect for those who suffer the most. I ask that we continue to have pride and balance, firmness and consideration. It is essential to take care of the harmonious and independent relationship between the powers of the Republic,” said Maia.
However, despite those frictions, he highlighted the “elegance” and “cordiality” with which he was received by Bolsonaro for a meeting between the two about two weeks ago.
“Dialogue is the nature of Parliament. That is why I naturally see the Government’s effort to broaden its political base,” he declared.
“It is time that we all raise the level of our understanding, our words and our actions to be worthy to lead the Brazilian people,” he added.
In his capacity as president of the Lower House, Maia is in charge of opening an eventual political trial against Bolsonaro, against whom thirty requests for ‘impeachment’ have already been filed, both for his management of the health crisis and for the alleged interference in the Federal Police command.
However, the deputy has so far ruled out starting this tortuous process because, according to him, the “priority” now is the fight against the pandemic.