The Strategist

Dilma Rousseff to be disqualified

08/04/2016 - 14:31

The political crisis in Brazil found a new lease of life a few days before opening of the Olympic Games. Now, final resignation of Dilma Rousseff as president is almost inevitable. Today, a special Senate committee is expected to support a report evincing involvement of Ms. Rousseff in corruption schemes and violations of the constitution. Her fate will be decided by the opening of the Paralympic Games in early September. However, the decision will not stop the Brazilian crisis since the presidency is most likely to pass to Michel Temer, an unpopular politician, who is already preparing to be booed at the opening of the Games.

Rovena Rosa/Agência Brasil,
Rovena Rosa/Agência Brasil,
Report on activities of Dilma Rousseff, submitted to the members of a specially created committee of the Senate to impeach the president, was prepared by Senator Antonio Anastasia. The document consists of 441 pages. It states: "The seriousness of the facts, which are indicated in the letter, leaves no doubt that it is not a violation of financial formalities but rather a crime against the constitution."

Dilma Rousseff is suspected of involvement in corruption schemes in Petrobras oil corporation, as well as of manipulation with the state budget during her election campaign in 2014. This May, the Senate temporarily pushed her from the duties, thus completing the 13-year reign of the country's left-wing forces. Today, a special Senate committee will vote on whether to continue the procedure of impeachment. Results of the voting are already clear: 16 out of 21 members of the commission have already hinted they do not want to see Dilma Rousseff as Head of State. August 5, the opening day of the Olympics, Mr. Anastasia’s report will be considered at the level of the Senate. The vote itself will take place before 9 August. Then the commission will begin consideration of the merits of the case. Final decision is expected to arrive by September 2, five days before the start of the Paralympic Games.

Thus, the key event of the year for Brazil will be held without its main initiator. The Olympics had become a crown of Dilma Rousseff’s presidency. Yet, there is no place for her at the opening ceremony of the Games. Now Ms. Rousseff, as she says in interviews, is devoting time to cycling, reading books and watching movies.

Her supporters and opponents are much more active. Latest protest of thousands of the two warring camps’ representatives swept over Brazil last Sunday. New mass rallies are planned for 5 and 9 August.

At many rallies, slogans are addressed not only to Dilma Rousseff, but also to her opponent, Michel Temer. As vice-president of Brazil, he became acting Head of State in May. If the impeachment happens, Mr. Temer will hold the post until 2018. However, he is not very popular in the country. According to Datafolha’s survey, 31% of Brazilians have negative comments on Temer’s activities, 42% think he is doing rather well, and only 14% are regarding him positively. Personal rating of the iterim Head of State is 31%. Against this background, the country has ignited debate about feasibility of early elections. Many protesters believe that only this can restore confidence in the authorities, whose representatives regularly appear in the center of corruption scandals.

Michel Temer considers himself an ideal candidate for the presidency. Markets trust him too. This year the real has risen by 22%, while the index of the Stock Exchange of São Paulo (Bovespa) - by 30%. "Foreign investors want to return to Brazil, but we must be sure that there will be no surprises, which can lead to return of Rousseff - said Zeina Latif, Chief Economist at largest Brazilian brokerage XP Investimentos. The situation is complicated by the fact that the country now has the transient leader". 

It will be even harder to prove Michel Temer’s aptitude to simple Brazilians. On the eve of the Olympic Games, he confided to Zero Hora newspaper that dissatisfied citizens can boo him at the opening ceremony of the Games.