The Aftermath of Brazil’s Presidential Impeachment

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The August 31st decision by the Brazilian Senate to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office by an overwhelming majority of 61 to 20 votes, for violating budget and fiscal responsibility laws, was watered down by a surprising second ruling that spared her from the suspension of the right to hold public office for eight years, as mandated by the country’s Constitution. Two senior members of Brazil’s Supreme Court said that the Senate split decision would not pass constitutional test. Commentators saw it as a maneuver by political leaders under criminal investigations to undermine ongoing anti-corruption efforts and the rule of law. It is improbable, however, that the court, whose Chief Justice chaired the impeachment proceedings, will revisit the merits of the Senate rulings ...when it considers conflicting appeals filled by Rousseff’s lawyers and the parties that supported her ousting.  

 After a protracted political battle that led to the former president’s indictment by the Chamber of Deputies in mid-April, the outcome of the impeachment exposed tensions in the coalition of parties that backs new president Michel Temer. It was an early indication of the difficulties the new leader will face to convince the nation’s self-serving Congress to approve austerity measures needed for Brazil to regain investors’ confidence and overcome its longest and deepest recession.


Speakers:        João Augusto de Castro Neves, Director, Latin America, Eurasia Group        Joel Velasco, Senior Vice-President Albright Stonebridge Group         Juliano Basile, Washington Correspondent, Valor Econômico


           Kellie Meiman, Managing Partner, McLarty Associates           Mauricio Moura, Managing Director, Ideia Inteligência          Monica Baumgarten de Bolle, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, and Adjunct Professor, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University


Moderator:         Paulo Sotero, Director, Brazil Institute