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Judge Suspends Appointment of Lula as Rousseff's Chief of Staff

03/18/2016 - 09h05

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FROM BRASÍLIA
FROM RIO

A provisional preliminary order of the first instance of the Rio de Janeiro Federal Court suspended at least until the beginning of Thursday night, March 17, the appointment of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as presidential chief of staff of the Rousseff administration.

A decision against Lula's taking office arising from the courts of Brasília was annulled by the president of the Federal Circuit of Court of Appeals of the 1st region, Associate Justice Cândido Ribeiro.

Lula was sworn in by President Rousseff on Thursday morning at a ceremony marked by protests inside and outside the president's official workplace, the Planalto Palace.

Members of the government were still commemorating the event when the president was informed nearly an hour after the ceremony that courts had suspended Lula's entrance in her team.

The first decision, which was later annulled, was made by the judge of the 4th Federal Court, Itagiba Catta Preta Neto, of Brasília, who believes there are suspicions of impeachable offense committed by President Rousseff.

Judge Neto decided in favor of a popular judicial action filed by lawyer Enio Meregali Júnior, who is accusing the Brazilian government of appointing Lula as chief of staff to prevent him from being arrested by the Federal Police's Lava Jato operation, which is investigating corruption schemes in Petrobras.

Judge Neto says Lula's taking office represents risks to the investigations.

The government appealed as soon as it learned of the court decisions. The government's main argument is that Lula's appointment does not stop him from being investigated by courts nor did it aim to protect him from the Lava Jato investigations.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

Read the article in the original language

Alan Marques/Folhapress
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hugs Dilma Rousseff after he swore as chief of staff in Brasilia
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hugs Dilma Rousseff after he swore as chief of staff in Brasilia

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