In sum, PT has won four straight national elections – the last one occurring just 18 months ago. Its opponents have vigorously tried – and failed – to defeat them at the ballot box, largely due to PT’s support among Brazil’s poor and working classes.
So if you’re a plutocrat with ownership of the nation’s largest and most influential media outlets, what do you do? You dispense with democracy altogether – after all, it keeps empowering candidates and policies you dislike – by exploiting your media outlets to incite unrest and then install a candidate who could never get elected on his own, yet will faithfully serve your political agenda and ideology.
That’s exactly what Brazil is going to do today. The Brazilian Senate will vote later today to agree to a trial on the lower House’s impeachment charges, which will automatically result in Dilma’s suspension from the presidency pending the end of the trial.
The most obvious victor of Dilma’s downfall is the interim President Michel Temer, former Vice President and leader of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB). Though he had been in coalition with the Workers’ Party, at the beginning of April he led a walkout of Rousseff’s government, galvanising the movement against her.
But Temer should watch his step. A Supreme Court judge has already ruled that he too should be investigated for the same charges which have become Rousseff’s undoing, namely manipulating government accounts during the 2014 election to mask Brazil’s growing deficit. The millions of protestors who have been lining the streets of Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio to call for change and transparency are unlikely to be appeased with the replacement of one corrupt President for another.
To confuse the situation further, the man who was third-in-line for the Presidency has also become a victim of Brazil’s corruption purge. Eduardo Cunha, former Speaker of the lower house, was suspended on Friday after being implicated in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigation of the state-owned oil company Petrobras. He is accused of taking $1.4 million in bribes. Cunha, a fellow member of Temer’s PMDB, is one of the most unpopular politicians in Brazil, and showed his cards in December when he approved impeachment proceedings against Rousseff but not against Temer, although they filed at the same time.
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