Brazil’s Supreme Court has been asked to overturn a contentious Senate decision allowing former President Dilma Rousseff to remain politically active following her removal from office in an impeachment trial this week.
The Senate voted on Wednesday to oust Rousseff for manipulating the federal budget to hide the real state of Brazil’s ailing economy in the run-up to her re-election in 2014.
In an unexpected separate vote, lawmakers spared the leftist leader from an eight-year ban on running for public office or holding any position in government, as provided for in Brazil’s constitution.
“They did a last-minute legal trick and guaranteed the former president’s political rights,” Senator Jose Medeiros, of the Social Democratic Party, said on Friday. He spoke after filing a request to annul the second vote, which he said was unconstitutional.
Two other political parties, including the ruling Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), plan to file for similar injunctions later on Friday, following the lead on Thursday of Green Party Senator Alvaro Dias, as controversy grows over the decision not to bar Rousseff from public office.
Brazil’s new President Michel Temer, who was sworn in after Rousseff was dismissed, has played down the twist in her final removal.
“The Senate made that decision, wrongly or rightly, but the Senate made that decision,” Temer said on the sidelines of a business summit in Shanghai ahead of a G20 summit in China.
The Senate decision, which garnered support from several members of Temer’s fractious PMDB, appeared to reflect unease over whether the doctoring of budget figures that Rousseff was convicted of was truly an impeachable offense.
Rousseff herself appealed to the Supreme Court on Thursday to annul the decision to oust her, a request that is unlikely to succeed.
A reversal of the vote granting her political rights is also seen as improbable since it was allowed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, who presided over the impeachment trial in the Senate.