Brazil Impeachment Temer In; Dilma Out

Global Centre Stage By Alankar Srivastava

The impeachment process has polarised Brazil; Senators voted 61-20 to convict the country’s first female president. Ms Dilma Rousseff’s conservative successor, Mr Michel Temer, has a tough task ahead with Brazilians not in favour of the austerity measures that the country needs to put public finances in shape.

The Senate has impeached Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for illegally manipulating government accounts, thus putting an end to the political uncertainty in Latin America’s largest country.

Found guilty of moving funds between government budgets that is illegal under Brazilian law, critics said Ms Dilma Rousseff was trying to plug deficit holes in popular social programmes.

Alleging that the impeachment proceedings were tantamount to a coup d’etat against her, Ms Dilma Rousseff said the proceedings were being used by her enemies to remove her from office without having to wait for the next presidential election.

Ms Rousseff’s approval ratings have plummeted from 79 percent in March 2013 to about 10 percent in March 2016, with mass demonstrations in major Brazilian cities demanding her resignation. It is worth mentioning that since becoming interim president in May 2016, Mr Temer has had approval ratings nearly as dismal as Ms Rousseff’s.

During the 13 years of the Leftist Workers’ Party, Brazil’s economy boomed, lifting millions into the middle class and raising the country’s profile on the global stage. However, the worst economic crisis in decades and corruption scandals led to the downfall of Ms Rousseff.

The impeachment process has polarised Brazil; Senators voted 61-20 to convict the country’s first female president. Ms Rousseff’s conservative successor, Mr Michel Temer, has a tough task ahead with Brazilians not in favour of the austerity measures that the country needs to put public finances in shape. It will be interesting to see the strategy adopted by Mr Temer in fulfilling his agenda of privatisations, and reforms to Brazil’s generous pension and welfare laws.

After being sworn in as president through 2018, Mr Temer called on Brazilians to unite behind him to rescue the economy from a fiscal crisis and over 11 percent unemployment.

“This moment is one of hope and recovery of confidence in Brazil. Uncertainty has ended,” Mr Temer said.

Addressing Workers’ Party leaders, Ms Rousseff said: “Listen to me: They think they beat us, but they are mistaken. We will mount the toughest, most tireless, energetic opposition that a government of coup-mongers can face.”

Of the four Brazilian presidents elected since Brazil’s democracy was re-established in the 1980s, Ms Rousseff is the second to be forced from office through the impeachment process. In 1992, Fernando Collor de Mello resigned before the Senate could convict him on corruption charges.

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