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2 Bolsonaro Allies Elected to Leadership Roles in Brazilian Congress

Brazilian Deputy Arthur Lira celebrates after being elected president of the Brazilian Lower House in Brasilia, Feb. 1, 2021.

A second lawmaker endorsed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been elected to a critical leadership role in Congress, possibly bolstering his political future amid dozens of calls for his resignation.

Congressman Arthur Lira, an ally of Bolsonaro, was elected speaker of the lower house of Congress for two years on Monday.

The chamber voted overwhelmingly in favor of Lira, whose rival pushed for separation from the Bolsonaro administration.

Earlier Monday, Brazil's Congress elected Rodrigo Pacheco as Senate speaker, another ally of the far-right leader who aims to improve bruised relations with legislators.

Bolsonaro has faced an uphill battle get legislation passed in Congress, while his popularity has declined over his handling of the latest surge of Covid-19 in Brazil.

Bolsonaro has long downplayed the pandemic even after he contracted the virus in July, at times appearing in pubic without a protective face mask.

So far, Brazil has confirmed more than 9,204,000 coronavirus infections and

224,504 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University Covid Resource Center.