BRASILIA, Brazil — Legislators delivered a blow to President Jose Sarney on Sunday, voting in favor of presidential elections next year against his wishes.
A key constitutional committee of Congress voted 48 to 45 to limit Sarney's term to four years instead of the five he had sought. Approval of the measure by the full Congress is considered likely, political analysts said.
Sarney, who came to power in 1985, said last week that he would consider himself at war with any member of Congress who supported a four-year term.
The move opens the way for presidential elections next November.
Sarney took office for a six-year term on the death of President-elect Tancredo Neves in 1985. Neves had been elected in indirect balloting after 20 years of military rule.
Brazil is in the midst of one of the worst economic crises of its modern history; inflation for next year is expected to be about 360%. Many politicians and Brazilians believe Sarney is responsible for the crisis.
The president had been popular until last year, riding a wave that crashed with the demise of the government's Cruzado Plan price freeze.