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  • Cunha during a press conference

    Cunha during a press conference | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 August 2016

The right-wing politician was suspended from his position at the Lower House for intimidating lawmakers and hampering investigations.

Eduardo Cunha, a key architect in the impeachment process against Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff, asked the nation's Federal Supreme Court on Wednesday to authorize his reinstatement to the Lower House.

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Cunha was suspended from his position as speaker and lawmaker by the Supreme Court in May over alleged, direct participation in the state-run oil company Petrobras' corruption scheme

The so-called "nemesis" of Rousseff is being investigated for receiving US$40 million in bribes connected to Petrobras contracts, as well as hiding money in offshore bank accounts in Switzerland.

A member of the PMDB, which is led by Brazil's interim President Michel Temer and part of the ruling coalition with Rousseff's Workers' Party, Brazil's Supreme Court cited Cunha potentially using his privileged position as head of the Lower House to obstruct any investigation that might target him as part of the reason for his dismissal.

The new head of the Lower House, Rodrigo Maia, said last Friday that lawmakers will decide if Cunha should be dismissed permanently or reinstated on September 12, after the final vote on Rousseff’s impeachment.

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According to lawmaker Alessandro Molon, the delay is a sign of how members of the Lower House are afraid of the statements Cunha may give to the press if he is ousted.

A Senate report prepared by analysts in June found that there is no evidence to suggest that Rousseff was personally responsible for fiscal wrongdoing, the main accusation behind the impeachment process.

Even so, the Senate has continued and will finalize the voting process by the end of the month.

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