Δευτέρα, 18 Απριλίου 2016

Brazilian Crisis Deepens With Rousseff Impeachment Vote

18-4-16




The lower house of Brazil's congress voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff Sunday (Guardian) over charges that she illegally used money from state banks to conceal budget deficits and shore up support for her 2014 reelection (NYT). The opposition obtained 367 of 513 votes, well beyond the needed two-thirds' majority. The process now goes to the Brazilian senate, which needs a simple majority to suspend her from office and put her vice president, Michel Temer, in office while she is tried before the same body.

Rousseff’s popularity has plummeted during a two-year-long corruption investigation centering around the state oil company Petrobras and a severe economic recession. Rousseff, however, has not been implicated in the corruption scandal and the impeachment charges instead relate to allegations she illegally used money from state banks to conceal budget deficits and shore up support for her reelection (NYT). Brazil’s solicitor general said that Rousseff had no plans to resign and would address the matter on Monday (AP).



ANALYSIS

"Brazil’s economy is in free fall; there is a public-health emergency, with the fast-spreading Zika virus causing strange neurological damage; and the Olympics will be held here in less than four months. Action on all of these things, to say nothing of the normal business of government, has been paralyzed for months bythe political drama playing out in the capital. As much as the country is focused on the Sunday vote, there is no realistic expectation it will provide relief," writes Stephanie Nolen in Globe and Mail.

"In South America, a cycle is coming to an end. For a decade and a half, relieved of attention by the US, buoyed by the commodities boom, and drawing on deep reserves of popular tradition, the continent was the only part of the world where rebellious social movements coexisted with heterodox governments. In the wake of 2008, there are now plenty of the former elsewhere. But none so far of the latter. A global exception is closing, with no relay yet in sight," writes Perry Anderson in the London Review of Books.

"Unlike Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT), which is heavily attached to labor unions and other social movements, [Vice President Michel] Temer’s Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) is a catchall without a clear base or ideology to which Temer must be accountable. This means that he can propose reforms that cut across ideological interests. He likewise needs to lose no sleep over approval rates, which is a common driver of policy for presidents. Since he is already highly unpopular, if his numbers change at all, the only direction they can go is up," writes Moises Costa in Foreign Affairs.


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