[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 02:19 GMT 03:19 UK
Vote gives Brazil head good news
Aldo Rebelo
After the vote, Rebelo was carried shoulder-high by supporters
A close ally of embattled Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been elected speaker of parliament.

Aldo Rebelo, of the government-allied Communist Party, narrowly beat Jose Thomaz Nono to win the key post in the lower house of Congress.

Brazil's governing coalition has been weakened by a corruption scandal.

Correspondents say holding the speaker's post will help it set the legislative agenda and fend off probes into the irregularities.

Under Brazil's constitution, the leader of the lower house is third in line to the presidency, after Vice President Jose Alencar.

The previous speaker, Severino Cavalcanti, stepped down to fight allegations that he took bribes from the owner of a restaurant in Congress.

The Workers' Party of President Lula has been dogged by corruption scandals in recent months.

The accusations have damaged his government's chances of re-election in 2006 and held up a programme of economic reforms.

Second round edge

In the first round of voting, Mr Rebelo and Mr Nono received an equal number of ballots in the 512-seat lower house.

But in a run-off vote, Mr Rebelo, 49, edged ahead 258-243.

"The deputies showed this house is a free house and an independent institution," he said.

Lula was quick to congratulate Mr Rebelo, who can limit Congressional investigations of alleged corruption and recommend more lenient sanctions for anyone found guilty.

Critics said that the government had ensured Mr Rebelo received enough votes by releasing public money for projects backed by deputies allied to the Workers' Party.



SEE ALSO:
Brazil speaker quits over 'graft'
21 Sep 05 |  Americas
Brazil politician faces expulsion
14 Sep 05 |  Americas
Embattled Lula vows more reforms
08 Sep 05 |  Americas
Brazil MPs face corruption claims
02 Sep 05 |  Americas
Scandal-hit Lula calls for trust
13 Aug 05 |  Americas
Q&A: Brazil corruption claims
13 Aug 05 |  Americas


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific