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Montevideo, September 20th 2018 - 14:45 UTC

Brazil political crisis escalates: Congress initiates impeachment proceedings against president Rousseff

Thursday, December 3rd 2015 - 08:41 UTC
Full article 96 comments
Proceedings against Rousseff follows charges that she has violated Brazil's fiscal laws and manipulated government finances to benefit her re-election campaign Proceedings against Rousseff follows charges that she has violated Brazil's fiscal laws and manipulated government finances to benefit her re-election campaign
On the same day the ruling Workers Party of Rousseff decided to support proceedings at the Lower House Ethics council to remove speaker Cunha On the same day the ruling Workers Party of Rousseff decided to support proceedings at the Lower House Ethics council to remove speaker Cunha
If Rousseff has to step down, she would be replaced by Vice president Michel Temer from the PMDB party, senior ally in the ruling coalition. If Rousseff has to step down, she would be replaced by Vice president Michel Temer from the PMDB party, senior ally in the ruling coalition.

The speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha has announced plans to open impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, allegedly on violation of fiscal legislation. In practical terms this means further political upheaval in the months ahead in a country that has been rocked by the steepest recession in 25 years, job losses, and a corruption scheme of planetary proportions in oil giant Petrobras.

 The decision to open proceedings against President Rousseff follows charges that she has violated Brazil's fiscal laws and manipulated government finances to benefit her re-election campaign last year. A committee comprised of members of all parties in the lower house will now decide on the merits of the case. It then needs 2/3 of votes in the lower house to suspend the president at which point the case moves to the Senate. The Senate then holds a 90-day trial after which a 2/3 majority in the upper house is needed to formally remove the president from office.

The opening of impeachment proceedings came on the same day that the ruling Workers Party of Rousseff decided to support proceedings at the Lower House Ethics council to remove speaker Cunha, who has been accused of receiving bribes from the Petrobras corruption scandal. Cunha strongly denied the allegations but finally the Swiss prosecution confirmed the speaker and family members had bank accounts in Switzerland with deposit dates and amounts closely relating to the charges from the Brazilian police.

The impact on markets and confidence of the latest events will be seen of Thursday's markets opening, but analysts from Capital Economics argue three reasons why financial markets may not nose-dive.

In effect “the move is hardly a surprise. It has been in the offing for a while and, at least in part, is likely to have already been priced into the market”. Secondly there is a big difference between opening impeachment proceedings and actually removing the president from office. Rousseff can still muster enough votes to hold off the challenge.

Finally, even if President Rousseff is impeached, it's not necessarily clear that this would be market-negative, since the leader is as unpopular with investors as she is with the Brazilian public, argues Capital Economics.

In effect Rousseff's government including Chicago trained economy minister Joaquim Levy have so far been unable to complete the much needed fiscal adjustment program, to lower a 9% GDP fiscal deficit, given the ongoing clashes with Congress, and must be added, includes a degree of rebellion among her own lawmakers contrary to severe austerity measures.

A final (and remotely) if Rousseff has to step down, she would be replaced by Vice president Michel Temer from the PMDB party, senior ally in the ruling coalition. The PMDB in a recent convention has already agreed that they will present their own presidential candidate on 2018, with a clear pro-business approach, and will continue support of the coalition given the very delicate political and social situation in the country, and the fact that they dispute the same electoral space as the main opposition party PSDB, whose leader Aecio Neves finished runner-up in the 2014 presidential double round election.

Neves, according to the latest public opinion polls is seen as the politician with most support if he plans to run for the presidency, even ahead of the until recently most popular and revered politician in the country, Lula da Silva, the iconic reference of the Workers party and sponsor of Rousseff.

But what is clear is that Brazil as the largest and leading Latin American economy with its current challenges and misfortunes is very bad news for Mercosur neighbors, and the region given its preponderance in trade and outgoing tourism.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

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  • Troy Tempest

    She's going to be too busy saving her ass, to fight Macri over Venzla.

    Timing couldn't be better.

    Maybe CFK will let her hole up at her place? Or there's always the Ecuadorian Embassy....

    Dec 03rd, 2015 - 09:36 am 0
  • Brasileiro

    I would like to post a comment written by a Brazilian on the request for impecheament which was originally public in Tijolaço.com.br. If I may:

    ”Eu ainda estou tentando entender o que o Cunha tinha na cabeça para acolher um pedido de impeachment logo depois do partido da presidenta dizer que ia votar pela cassação dele. E no mesmo dia em que o governo não apenas aprovou de lavada a mudança no orçamento, ainda conseguiu eliminar dele as pedaladas, o que enfraquece ainda mais o pedido de impeachment.

    Com isso ele comprou briga com toda a base governista, manchou o pedido não apenas com a sujeira que lhe é característica mas também com as cores de uma vingança mesquinha, deixou claro que está usando de seu cargo para se proteger e se vingar de maneira imoral (e talvez ilícita), e impõe à oposição que aderir ao golpe o desgaste moral da cumplicidade tanto com o ato de vingança quanto com aquele que já é visto pelo povo como o político mais sujo do Brasil.

    Além disso, o faz no que pode ser o momento de maior força do governo no congresso, sabendo que uma vitória do governo pode desmoralizar não apenas a sí, mas também à parte golpista da oposição.

    A única explicação que eu posso dar é que o Cunha quis dizer um grande “foda-se” para tanto o governo quanto a oposição pela atual falta de apoio. Ou então ele ainda nutre aquela idéia messiânica de que, autorizando o impeachment, ele vai voltar a ser idolatrado pela oposição e vai ter seus crimes perdoados.“
    ”Midori Mayari” 12/02/2015

    http://tijolaco.com.br/blog/hora-do-enfrentamento-2/

    It is released the basis of twenty years of Labour government in Brazil.

    Dec 03rd, 2015 - 10:31 am 0
  • Clyde15

    #2
    It would probably help if you could supply a translation as most of us cannot read Portuguese. Until then you could be quoting from Grimm's Fairy Tales for all we know.

    Dec 03rd, 2015 - 10:36 am 0
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