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Brazil: Top Pt Leader Jose Dirceu Expelled From House, Barred From Public Office

LADB Article ID: 51871
Category/Department: Brazil
Date: 2005-12-09
By: Patricia Hynds

The politician who was once President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's most powerful advisor has lost his battle to thwart proceedings to remove him from the Congress and ban him from politics. Congressmember Jose Dirceu lost a Dec. 1 vote against him after all his legal appeals to avoid an impeachment vote ran out. Dirceu's removal is the latest in a series of blows to the image and strength of President Lula and his Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). Dirceu and Lula assert that there is no proof for the accusations against him and that the vote to remove Dirceu was politically motivated. For months, Dirceu, 59, has fought the accusations against him, saying there was no proof that he participated in a bribes-for-votes scheme with legislators allied with the PT. The vote against Dirceu was 293-192, and it required only a simple majority of 257 of the 513 seats in the lower house of Congress to find him guilty of charges of "breaking parliamentary decorum."

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