Government waves to Marina, but avoids facing Congress – 05/25/2023 – Politics

Government waves to Marina, but avoids facing Congress – 05/25/2023 – Politics

Faced with the evident fragility of his support base in the Chamber of Deputies, President Lula (PT) started a movement to appease the dissatisfaction of Minister Marina Silva (Environment) and prevent her from leaving office. At the same time, he decided not to face the National Congress.

Both the comfortable victory in approving the fiscal framework and the defeats in tariffs on sanitation and on the indigenous issue showed that the greatest strength in the Chamber is in the hands of the President of the House, deputy Arthur Lira (PP-AL), and the centrão, which he commands.

Depending on the interests of this group, more than 300 votes have been gathered both in favor and against the government.

Although the political coordination of the Planalto Palace has yielded to Congress in articulating the withdrawal of attributions in Marina’s portfolio, Lula called a meeting with the minister and Sônia Guajajara (Indigenous Peoples) for this Friday (26).

The meeting will be attended by ministers of the so-called political coordination, which includes Alexandre Padilha (Secretary of Institutional Relations) and Rui Costa (Casa Civil), in addition to government leaders.

According to palace assistants, the intention is to show that Lula still gives priority to the respective areas and that he will try to reverse at least part of the damage in the Senate. Behind the scenes, the position is that, at this moment, there is no way for the government to confront the Chamber.

The mixed commission made up of deputies and senators that analyzed the MP (provisional measure) for the reorganization of the Esplanada dos Ministérios approved on Wednesday (24) changes that strengthen the centrão and remove power from the portfolio commanded by Marina. The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples was also dehydrated, seeing the attribution of demarcating indigenous lands transferred to the Ministry of Justice.

Lula himself said this Thursday (25th), in São Paulo, that he sees the situation as “normal”. He minimized the crisis and said that politics cannot be scared and that now the government has to “play” and negotiate with the Legislature.

Lula won the election against Jair Bolsonaro (PL) by a narrow margin of votes at the same time that voters chose a mostly conservative Congress.

The base of the left, led by the PT, controls only about 130 of the 513 seats in the Chamber. Lula is trying to form a coalition with center and right-wing acronyms, especially MDB, União Brasil and PSD, but the latest votes showed that, for now, support is only guaranteed for projects that the centrão —commanded by Lira and formed by the ruralist and evangelical groups, among others.

This was the case of the fiscal framework, approved by 372 votes against 108, with Lira’s support and leadership.

Shortly after this vote, which ended on Wednesday, the centrão showed its weapons and approved by 324 to 131, this time against the interests of the government, the urgency of voting on the time frame on the issue of demarcation of indigenous lands — a flag of the ruralists.

The main fear of the government in the clash between Marina and Congress is that, if there is an effective effort by the government for the Senate to change points, the Chamber will decide to retaliate against the Planalto and let the MP for the reorganization of the Esplanada dos Ministérios lose validity. In practice, this would imply the return of Bolsonaro’s administrative structure.

The proposal still needs to go through the plenary sessions of the House and Senate and have its processing completed by June 1.

Therefore, for the time being, there is no forecast that Lula will veto the changes made by the Chamber, nor will he resort to Justice to review the decision of the parliamentarians. The idea is to act in Congress itself, especially in the Senate, to try to soften the changes.

Despite Lula’s intention, judicialization was a topic addressed by Marina when she was in the Chamber of Deputies, on Wednesday. In an audience with parliamentarians, she stated that she predicted that third sector organizations could appeal against the change in the Esplanada.

In the case of the demarcation of indigenous lands —which, according to the text of Congress, leaves the ministry of Sonia Guajajara and goes to the Ministry of Justice—, there is already a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality in the Supreme Court that questions the change of guardianship of the subject.

Although he does not show, for the time being, a willingness to fight against the majority wing of the Chamber, Lula and close allies are concerned that the crisis with Marina will have negative international repercussions. About a week ago, Lula said in Japan that the “false dichotomy between growth and protection of the environment should already be overcome”.

“We are facing a reality of a Parliament that we did not have a majority. The Brazilian people elected a president with one position, and a majority Parliament with another. We have to mediate and we cannot win everything here. Many times, we lose, like it was the case yesterday in the environmental and indigenous issue”, said the leader of the government in Congress, Randolfe Rodrigues (AP).

“It is not an easy situation to handle, because the government does not have a majority in Congress”, said Marina this Thursday, during the inauguration of the new president of ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation), Mauro Pires. Later, she published a photo next to Lula, taken during their meeting at the Itamaraty Palace.

On another front, the Planalto Palace also intends to veto a device of a provisional measure that weakened the protection of the Atlantic Forest —the reading is that, in the eventual analysis of this veto by Congress, the Senate would be able to guarantee the position of the Planalto (to a presidential veto is overridden, a majority vote of the members of both houses is required).

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