A Brazilian congressional committee voted late Monday to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff (Folha de Sao Paulo), who stands accused of manipulating government data to mask a deficit. The decision sets up a vote in the lower house on impeachment expected Sunday (WSJ) that could clear the path for a Senate trial, which could eventually remove her from office (NYT). Vice President Michel Temer is next in line as president, but he faces the same accusations of data manipulation; a Supreme Court judge recently ordered congress to set up a commission to analyze whether he should face impeachment proceedings as well (Guardian).
"With everyone being impeached or in danger of impeachment or implicated in corruption, the 'Fora Todos' movement is gaining ground. A popular previous presidential candidate, Marina Silva, and newspaper Folha de S. Paulo in an editorial have championed this line. The problem is that while the idea of aclean-slate approach is attractive, there is no clear constitutional way of calling fresh elections unless Ms Rousseff and Mr Temer are both impeached, have their mandates annulled by the election tribunal, or resign. With both showing no signs of willingly stepping aside, the impasse is unlikely to be resolved quickly," writes Joe Leahy for the Financial Times.
"Even if impeachment proceeds, it now seems a Temer government won't be the panacea many investors were hoping for. Fixing Brazil's economy is actually pretty straightforward – it will require austerity, an opening to trade, and a war against the bureaucracy stifling small and large businesses alike. But all of these measures will be unpopular in the short term. And anything less than a clean impeachment will fuel the unions, social movements and legislators who will be crying 'coup' from day one of a Temer government, and opposing every 'cruel' or 'neoliberal' measure he proposes," writes Brian Winter for Americas Quarterly.
"What Brazil teaches is that the promise of 'emerging market' countries was often wishful thinking. The presumption was that these countries, especially the BRICs, would inexorably narrow the gap with advanced societies. They would adopt known technologies, expand their education systems and improve local management. What got lost in this simplistic vision was the impact of national differences – of values, institutions, politics, policies – on smooth economic growth," writes Robert J. Samuelson for the Washington Post.
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