Brazilian Court Approves Investigation of Rousseff’s Reelection Campaign
The Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Brazil decided Tuesday night to reopen the process of investigation into alleged irregularities in the election campaign of President Dilma Rousseff.
The action was filed by the opposition party, the PSDB, which calls for the annulment of the mandate of the president and her vice president, Michel Temer.
The Electoral Court approved a measure to re-open the investigation by a vote of 5 -2. The plaintiffs accuse the campaign of the Workers Party (PT), the party of Rousseff, of committing irregularities and of abuse of political and economic power, to use public funds in the campaign and for allegedly receiving funds from companies investigated by Operation Lava Jato, the corruption scandal at the Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.
The defense of the PT has always claimed that there were no irregularities and that the accounts have already been approved by the Electoral Court. However, the judges did not assess the merits but whether it is appropriate to continue the process.
The PSDB and achieved its greatest victory against the government since the speech in favor of impeachment of Dilma Rousseff that has now gained strength within the opposition.
In an unprecedented decision in the history of the court, the Superior Electoral Tribunal decided to proceed with the process to ask question the president and her vice president, Michel Temer, about the alleged irregularities in the campaign.
In February, Judge Maria Thereza de Assis Moura shelved the process, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to proceed, but the TSE again discussed the reopening of the case at the request of opposition candidate, Aécio Neves, who challenged Rousseff’s reelection campaign as a candidate for the PSDB.
The court may, if it finds enough proof of wrongdoing, remove both Rousseff and Temer from power, although specialists consider this hypothesis very unlikely.
However, the court’s decision further weakens the government, which runs against time to try to stop the Federal Supreme Court in the imminent review of the accounts of Rousseff by the Court of Accounts (TCU). The judgment issued by the TCU, which is expected to reject the accounts presented by the Rousseff administration, is the best bet of the opposition to shorten Dilma Rousseff’s time in office via impeachment.