Brazil’s House Speaker, Severino Cavalcanti (from the PP party of the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco), cut short his trip to New York where he had gone for a United Nations meeting.
Cavalcanti decided to rush back to Brazil because of the uproar caused in the country due to charges that he forced a restaurateur in the congressional office building to pay him monthly kickbacks has caused in Brazil.
The opposition is demanding his resignation and threatens to obstruct legislation until he resigns.
Cavalcanti returned to Brazil in a defiant mood though. At a news conference Sunday, September 11, he vehemently refused to step down.
“I will preside over all sessions in the Chamber of Deputies. If others do not fulfill their obligations that is their problem. Deputies are elected to vote, not obstruct,” he declared, adding that he would not take sick leave or any other type of leave of absence.
“I will resist,” he said. “I intend to be the judge in expulsion cases now before the chamber,” he stated, and when asked if he could do that while he himself was being accused of misbehavior before the Ethics Commission, he answered: “In all these motions [for expulsion], I will be the judge.”
Spokesmen for opposition parties say they intend to make formal accusations against Cavalcanti before the Ethics Commission tomorrow (Tuesday, September 13).