The president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), says in an interview with Sheet that the government needs to be “careful” with excesses that have surfaced in Federal Police investigations. For him, “there are police officers going above and beyond” what they should.
The deputy also criticizes the instrument of plea bargains for prisoners, as happened with Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, former aide-de-camp to Jair Bolsonaro (PL). “I’m not going to make a value judgment on the issue of merit, I don’t know the content of the plea. Now it’s clear that pleading against an arrested defendant is impossible.”
The president of the Chamber also states that, after the government gave two ministries and state-owned companies to the PP and Republicans, his party is part of the support base for the PT member in the House. According to the deputy, Lula will have around 350 votes in the Chamber, enough to approve PECs (proposed amendments to the Constitution).
Lira admits that Caixa will be under her command and that the bank will have political appointments, which will pass her scrutiny.
Lula appointed André Fufuca, who was leader of the PP, as Minister of Sports. Does this mean your party’s entry into government once and for all?
There is a rapprochement between center parties that were not part of the government’s base for this support. It is clear that, when a party nominates a minister who was leader of a party in the Chamber, the natural tendency is for that party to become the base of support for the government in the Chamber of Deputies, like Republicans, like other parties.
Does this mean that all PP’s 49 votes will be pro-government?
No, because no party casts all the votes. But I believe in a calm foundation.
How many votes does the government have today?
We crystallize the opposition today around 120, 130 crystallized votes. So, 350, 340 votes, the government must be on a resolved basis, I think. The agreement was broader, it involves other parties, there is part of the PL that wants to be part of it and is already voting with the government.
What is the situation at Caixa Econômica?
Caixa is part of the agreement with the parties.
Closed gate [com as 12 vice-presidências incluídas]?
That was the deal.
When will the exchanges be effective?
I have a conversation with President Lula these days. I will still have to talk internally in my party. The names will be made available to the president, who will make the choice.
This part of the agreement is handled directly with the sir?
There, things have to be treated very transparently and will be treated very clearly. And there will, of course, be political nominations that will not be criminalized for this. The group will be responsible. Exoneration is the first invitation for those who do not walk correctly. The initial conversation was that either in the PP quota or in my quota this would be indicated, but this will be greatly expanded to all parties that were part of the agreement.
But will these indications pass you by?
I think so.
What about Funasa (National Health Foundation)?
Funasa is part of the agreement with the Republicans.
How was the relationship with Minister Fernando Haddad (Finance) after the declaration that the Chamber has too much power?
Then he fixed it himself. This is outdated. [A relação] It has always been good and will continue to be good.
Is the zero deficit plan feasible?
If we take the steps, yes. There are several opportunities to increase the government’s cash flow without raising taxes. The government, the Ministry of Economy and Congress will have to work together to find an alternative. Because the [medida] What you won’t have is no tax increase.
For 2024, do you believe in any change in the model of parliamentary amendments, since the government kept part of the funds and this has generated complaints?
I think we have to evolve, whether with mandatory bench amendments, mandatory committee amendments or individual amendments so that public policy follows what it is intended for. I have always defended parliamentary amendments and will continue to do so, because no one knows Brazil more than parliamentarians.
In the past, investigations showed that political subdivisions were often where cases of corruption occurred. Why might it be different now?
You cannot criminalize politics. Political nomination is dangerous because of this. You recommend someone, but you don’t live with someone 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours. Whatever is wrong in public administration must be corrected.
The transfer of amendments is also the target of investigations by alleged deviations.
Any resource has a problem. To the criminals everything: the CGU (Comptroller General of the Union), AGU (Advocacy General of the Union), the Federal Police, Civil Police. We just cannot criminalize the parliamentary amendment. It is a mistake. It is what reduces the regional distortions that we experience.
One former advisor to Mr. [Luciano Cavalcante] was investigated by the PF due to alleged fraud in the transfer of amendments for the purchase of a kit robotics.
That’s an allegation. Yet another abuse, an excess. There is nothing that has been proven in relation to this, including this entire operation was canceled [pelo ministro Gilmar Mendes, do Supremo Tribunal Federal] and you know why. In the end, when it comes to an end, the people who did it will all be held responsible.
I’m not here judging anyone, I’m saying for myself that I was massacred for two months: Lira’s allies, Lira’s relatives, Lira’s advisor. So, all in all, this operation that took place, which deals with a matter after it was completely distorted, was annulled by the STF, due to defective initiative, persecution of targets, direction of investigation. There was no draw for a prosecutor to act on the case. So, it is riddled with irregularities. And in the end, everyone will be held accountable.
It was annulled at the request of his defense. Was there concern about where the investigation might lead?
No. It was because a delegate cannot take a false or true newspaper article and go and investigate the president of the Chamber using third-party targets to do so. So, very calmly, I responded the entire time and said the entire time: not my CPF. There is nothing in my accounts, there is nothing in my personal life, there is nothing in my city halls that would discredit me throughout my life. Whoever defends the amendment as I do would not be crazy to be in the position I am and do any kind of wrong thing in relation to it. When we lose the limit of excesses, when the police become politicians, we have difficulties in the country.
When mr. Are you talking about accountability, are you talking about investigators?
I have already represented the CNMP (National Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office), I will represent the CNJ (National Council of Justice), and I will take action in relation to those who carried out the investigations in a targeted manner.
Is there distrust and complaints regarding the actions of Minister Flávio Dino (Justice), especially in relation to the PF?
The issue of minister Flávio Dino, the relationship with me is very good. In Parliament, he has his difficulties with the opposition, it is normal for the process. What you shouldn’t have is a political police, for nothing. This is the worst of all worlds. Not a police officer with the autonomy to do what he wants. We don’t have that. Police are a state body to comply with legal determinations.
But criticism of the PF’s political performance has existed for several governments. Is there more political action in this government?
The government has to be careful. The current government, I have said, has to be careful with some excesses that are emerging. They had been resolved and are emerging again with great particularity.
Do you have an example?
Have many. Has the [general Walter] Braga Netto, there are others there. Federal Police do not work either as prosecutors or as judges. She has to go to the investigation. The investigation is over, the paper is over. She cannot go beyond that. There are police officers going beyond that.
What do you mr. Do you think the PF could close a plea agreement without the MPF? [Ministério Público Federal?
Ruim. Tem que ter o aval [do MPF]. In any case, the Public Ministry owns the action. If he doesn’t participate, if he doesn’t see, if he doesn’t discuss, up front, how will he go? So, I think that when you start to go beyond your limits, you start to distort the Brazilian institutional system.
Bolsonaro and his allies have been the target of investigations. Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid [ex-assessor de Bolsonaro] has just concluded a plea bargain which, it is speculated, may target the former president. Mr. Do you see an excess of investigators in this case?
I have always condemned, yesterday and today, the denunciation of an arrested defendant. Everyone was against denouncing a defendant arrested back there. We are dealing with the complaint of a defendant arrested again today, made by the Federal Police. I’m not going to make a value judgment on the issue of merit, I don’t know the content of the plea. Now the point is that it is impossible to plead guilty to an arrested defendant.
How is your relationship with former president Bolsonaro?
I spoke to him about tax reform, asking for the PL’s support. There would be no reason for that positioning [contra a reforma].
Is he dead politically?
Not by far. I’m not the one who’s going to investigate and verify a question like that. He was judged ineligible, politically it is very broad, he can work as an electoral campaigner, he can support another candidate, he can reverse a decision like this in the Supreme Court. We have seen so many difficulties. President Lula is a living example of this.
Who will inherit Bolsonaro’s votes?
I have no idea. I’m not talking about conjectures. Nobody has stepped up to do that yet.
But Mr. and does the PP see an alliance in the future with Lula or the opposition as more likely?
You don’t want to solve 2026 in 2023. So no one in life until death is dead for anything.
And what is your future? If a ministry is offered, Mr. consider?
I’m not talking about conjectures.
X-ray | Arthur Lira, 54
Federal deputy for Alagoas, he is in his fourth term. He was elected president of the Chamber in February 2021 and re-elected in 2023. Previously, he was a councilor in Maceió for two legislatures and a state deputy for three. Affiliated to the PP since 2009, he previously worked for PFL, PSDB, PTB and PMN.