After 20 hours of debate, a clear majority in the Brazilian Senate voted on early Thursday morning to suspend Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, an action that removes her temporarily from office and sees her replaced by interim vice-president Michel Temer during her impeachment trial, which in 180 days could see her successor become full president until January 2019.
Brazilian senators voted 55-22 on Thursday in favor of suspending Dilma Rousseff from the office of president for six months and starting an impeachment trial against her. Only a simple majority was required for the impeachment to begin but the fact that 55 supported the constitutional instrument was most significant, since 54 votes or two thirds of the full house are needed to conclude the process and permanently remove Rousseff if impeachment merits are confirmed.
The Senate action comes after the lower house voted 367-137 last month in favor of impeachment. On Monday, the new head of the lower house annulled impeachment sessions only to revoke his own decision less than twelve hours later. Eduardo Cunha, ex speaker of the house and the factotum of the impeachment process was suspended by the Supreme Court for taking bribes and denying he had bank accounts in Switzerland which were confirmed by Swiss prosecutors.
The allegations facing Rousseff are that she violated fiscal rules in handling the federal budget. She is charged with having illegally tapped state banks and taken loans to cover up budget deficits Rousseff and her Workers Party (PT) argue no responsibility crime was committed, since the mechanism in common practice in Brazilian administrations.
However members of the now ruling coalition recall that PT appealed precisely to the same argument to try and impeach president Collor de Melo in 1992, and later attempted the same instrument against ex president Itamar Franco. Likewise in none of the two cases budget deficit was 11% of GDP as currently, and the instrument was not used to present watered down deficits or false surplus for presidential election purposes.
Rousseff has been replaced by Vice President Michel Temer, who had turned against the president during the political crisis in Brazil. Temer is head of the country's largest political party and decisive force for the governance of any catch-all ruling coalition in the atomized party system of the country.
The new interim government under Temer is expected to implement more orthodox and business friendly policies, contain social expenditure, promote exports, foreign investment, reform the pensions' system and rein in the budget deficit. If Temer has the sufficient political support has yet to be seen, particularly since the displaced PT has pledged tough opposition to the new government.
Likewise the impeachment process is not expected to alter the ongoing Supreme Court investigation into the major Petrobras corruption scandal, which has virtually bankrupted Brazil's oil company (over 2.2bn dollars were skimmed from the company's contacts mainly to help finance political campaigns), and the scheme involved dishonest company officials, the main public works contractors and the political system.
It is estimated that over 30% of elected members of congress, current and ex cabinet ministers, political leaders including ex president Lula da Silva, party leader Aecio Neves, Senate president Renan Calheiros have been involved in the jumbo scam and are under investigation.
However it must be pointed out that suspended president Dilma Rousseff, so far, has not been proved to be involved in any of the corruption schemes, even when she was a member of Petrobras board of directors before becoming president in 2010. But Dilma faces justice obstruction charges when she tried to help her political mentor Lula da Silva, from being questioned by the federal police by naming him a cabinet member. In Brazil lawmakers and cabinet members can only be charged and questioned by the Supreme Court
The impeachment process, which has been going on for months, has been taking place during the Petrobras revelations and a deep economic recession: the economy contracted 3.8% in 2015 and a similar plunge is forecasted for this year, the worst recession in Brazil since the depression of the thirties.
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Anybody can realize what the crux of the matter is when learning how several of the senators voting for Roussef's impeachment are themselves--including Temer--under corruption charges, similarly to Argentina's president Macri, who campaigned on anti-corruption propaganda an is now being investigated for off-shore accounts he forgot to mention when he was head of the Buenos Aires government.May 13th, 2016 - 07:13 pm 0
Incidentally, Brasil's new president #Temer was an embassy informant for US intelligence, militaryMay 14th, 2016 - 01:09 pm 0
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 13, 2016