Brazil’s Supreme Court to rule on Lula appointment

epa05262458 Former Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, participate in an event with social movement supporters in favor of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at Esplanada de los Ministerios, Brasilia, Brazil, on 16 April 2016, on the eve of the vote by the Chamber of Deputies on continuing the impeachment process against Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff.  EPA/Fernando Bizerra Jr.


Brasília / AFP

Brazil’s Supreme Court was due to rule on Wednesday on whether former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva can take up his post as chief advisor to embattled President Dilma Rousseff. The top panel’s decision is expected just days after lawmakers overwhelmingly authorized impeachment proceedings against Rousseff, plunging Brazil into deep political crisis.
Rousseff had named Lula—her predecessor and mentor—as chief of staff on March 16, sparing him possible arrest for corruption and betting on his political prowess to save her.
The controversial appointment, which has been temporarily blocked by a Supreme Court judge, would give Lula ministerial immunity from trial in criminal court on charges related to a massive corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras.
The full court—due to meet as of 1900 GMT—must now rule on whether he can take up the job, the highest post in Rousseff’s government.
Lula, a left-wing icon and founder of the ruling Workers’ Party, is accused of accepting a luxury condo and a country home as bribes from construction companies caught up in the multibillion-dollar graft scandal that has upended Brazilian politics.
Rousseff, fighting for political survival, had enlisted the charismatic Lula to spearhead an intense lobbying campaign for votes in the lower house of Congress, which on Sunday authorized the Senate to open an impeachment trial against her.
She is now close to losing her job as the Senate prepares to schedule a vote on whether to open an impeachment trial, expected in mid-May.

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