Brazilian bar association to study possibility of urging presidential impeachment

The Brazilian Bar Association created a commission Monday that will examine the possibility of requesting President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's impeachment, the government news agency reported.

That move came at the urging of top lawyer Elenice Pereira Carille, vice president of the bar association's human rights commission. She said Silva _ whose government is mired in a corruption scandal _ was guilty of ethically questionable behavior and criminal acts by corrupting legislators.

The ruling Workers Party has been accused of illegal campaign financing and of bribing lawmakers to support the government in Congress. Silva has not been personally linked to the charges, but top aides and party members have resigned under fire.

Rep. Jose Dirceu, Silva's longtime ally and trusted chief of staff, quit in June and faces impeachment from Congress.

Roberto Busato, president of the bar, said the commission would work with a congressional probe into allegations of government wrongdoing. But he said it was "too soon" to ask for Silva's impeachment.

"President Lula still has a certain credibility," said Busato, using Silva's popular nickname. "The public clamor (for impeachment) still is not palpable."

Silva's popularity sank after the scandal broke in May but has recently rebounded. It's not clear if he'll run for a second term in 2006.

Carille said the bar _ known as the OAB in Brazil _ could swing the balance against Silva.

"As soon as a body as strong as the OAB takes to the streets, the people will follow. I'm sure of it," she said, AP reported. V.A.

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