With Ms. Rousseff out, the crisis is far from over.
- After almost nine months, Ms. Rousseff will no longer be the president of Brazil
- The Senate just approved that Ms. Rousseff is no longer the Brazilian President
- The result was 61 votes against 20; fifty four were necessary for the approval
- The interim president, Mr. Michel Temer, should be confirmed soon as the permanent president of the country, in time to participate in the G20 meeting in Hangzhou next week
- Temer will now have to deal with the country´s harshest economic crisis while he faces a huge opposition from the civil society, divided after the impeachment process
- According to a recent pool, 87% of Brazilians believe that the country is on the wrong direction
After 273 days since the impeachment procedure was opened, a trial that lasted 111 days and going through a session of almost 14 hours where she defended herself, Ms. Dilma Rousseff was removed from office as the president of Brazil.
For more than the two thirds needed, the Senate ruled over the impeachment of the Workers Party politician, elected by more than 54 million votes (51%) in the 2014 elections for another four years term. The case against the president was opened by the Chamber of Deputies on December 2nd and, after being approved by more than a 3/5 majority, the Senate ruled by a simple majority that the process should be opened. After the 111 days in which the president was away from office, another session of the Senate conducted by the Supreme Court president is made to reach the final decision, in which 2/3 of the senators needed to approve the permanent removal from Ms. Rousseff.
Ms. Rousseff´s popularity has been shrinking since the 2013 street protests in Brazil, and sinked after her reelection, when the economic crisis started affecting the employment rates and confidence of the market. In an attempt to put the economy back in track, she proposed several reforms in the economy. Although going in the right direction appointing a minister of Finance greeted by the market and opposition members, Ms. Rousseff faced a harsh resistance from Congress to approve the reforms needed. From that moment on, the president faced numerous obstacles to maintain a cohesive base of support in Congress that slowly fell apart, fostered by the president´s incapacity to deal with conflicting political interests and the intensification of corruption accusations mainly against Ms. Rousseff´s party, the PT.
“This is the second trial to which I am subject in which democracy sits next to me as a defendant #ForDemocracy”. Ms. Rousseff was judged before with only 22 years old, when she fought against dictatorship in Brazil.
Although following the impeachment rules and going through a process that lasted almost nine months, Ms. Rousseff´s supporters and herself alleged that the impeachment war a coup orchestrated by the ones that did not accept her reelection in 2014.
“Today will be written another page of the democratic history of the country” said Mr. Aecio Neves, a PSDB senator and candidate defeated by Ms. Rousseff in the 2014 Elections. His question in Congress addressed to Ms. Rousseff was one of the most expected in the day.
In fact, the crimes for which she is accused is a matter of discussion. While she maintains that the budget mismanagement she is accused of was made by several presidents before her, and that she should not be judged retroactively by something that was not considered a crime, the accusation maintains that she is blamed for the economy´s downturn. Many senators emphasized that Ms. Rousseff was blamed by the whole set of errors she commit in her government – which, according to the Brazilian Constitution, is not a reason for her impeachment. Such as in parliamentary systems, the impeachment is being considered by many as a censure motion against Ms. Rousseff – nonexistent in the Brazilian presidential system.
What is next for Brazil?
Whether the procedure fit the rules or not, only history will tell with more neutrality. From now on, the major concern of politicians and the Brazilian society is whether the country will be able to get back in track – economic and politically speaking.
- Temer on the tightrope
The recently confirmed president will now face a great pressure to deliver substantial achievements in a short period of time to approve measures and put the economy back in track. As an interim president in the previous months, he has been showing a good capacity to approve measures with the support of the Congress. With an eye in the 2018 presidential elections, the former opposition party PSDB joined Mr. Temer´s attempt to approve the major reforms in the economy. However, the party is willing to shape its strategy to win the bid in 2018, and any failure of Mr. Temer in putting the economy back in track can spill over the image of the party. Hence, maintaining a strong support base in a highly fragmented Congress is the biggest challenge of the president in the coming months. Also, we should not underestimate new facts that may come from the corruption investigations that could affect members of Mr. Temer office, destabilizing his government.
- What can we expect for 2018?
Such as in 1989 – the year of the first presidential election after more than 20 years of dictatorship in Brazil – the political scenario is highly fragmented and any political force can have an attempt to reach the presidency. Having that on mind, many forces are already looking for the 2018 term. With an eye on the future, many political forces will use this moment to capitalize themselves, which could create an unfavorable scenario to get the country out of this crisis.
Whether Mr. Temer will be successful or not in his task, the next months will tell. His first opportunity to show that the country is back on track – although discredited by a recent Ipsos pool that says that 87% of Brazilians believe that the country is on the wrong direction – is on the upcoming G20 meeting in Hangzhou, China. Whichever discourse he will use in this opportunity, the only certainty is that the process of impeachment does not mean the end of the crisis, let alone the salvation of the country.