In early December 2015, Brazil’s Congress unexpectedly and abruptly moved to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. After her allies appealed to the Supreme Court, the process was put on hold until mid-February, as the legislative and judiciary branches went into their usual, year-end recess. 

Retaliation in kind

The impeachment appeared to have been an act of revenge by Ms. Rousseff’s nemesis, House Speaker Eduardo Cunha. The two have a long history of backstabbing each other. Last year they appeared to have reached a sort of a political truce, but it ended when Ms. Rousseff learned that Mr. Cunha had been secretly negotiating her downfall in Congress. The speaker himself is in danger of losing his own mandate, as he apparently lied under oath, claiming to have no secret bank accounts in Switzerland. Such accounts have since surfaced in the course of investigations by Brazilian and Swiss authorities. Most observers expect Mr. Cunha to be gone from his job earlier than the president.

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Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva is a Global Fellow with the Brazil Institute