In Brazil, unlawful maneuvers by the Rousseff administration are ‘forgiven’ because they were committed in a different administration.
On Tuesday, the country woke up expecting some outcome, for better or worse, on the future of President Dilma Rousseff: the leader of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, had to accept or reject the opening of impeachment proceedings for alleged irregularities in government accounts in 2014. But the plot has only further complicated.
The Supreme Court has held the maneuver that the leader of the House of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, intended to use to move the process forward. The strategy was that Cunha would reject the request for impeachment so the opposition would resort to an automatic vote.
The Court of Accounts (TCU) announced last week it would investigate the government’s maneuvers (pedaling) for allegedly unlawful practices in fiscal year 2014. The government has recognized that it delayed transfers of National Treasury to public banks to fill the fiscal hole of 106 billion reais.
There is no agreement on whether the makeup of the accounts can knock Rousseff off the presidency, since the alleged crime is was committed on her previous term.
Now, opponents try to prove that the irregularities continued into 2015. Either way, the decision seems essentially political: the pedaling is not new and other governments have done the same in the past without consequences.
Now, impeachment will need a simple majority; 257 of the 513 deputies to be approved, a realistic number given the political isolation suffered by Rousseff. However, the Supreme Court has stopped that initiative on its feet.
Cunha must now decide whether to accept or request for opening an impeachment procedure, but if he chooses the latter option, he will need 342 votes as supposed to 257.
The Supreme Court’s decision over government accounts, which must still be voted on by the members of the Court, comes as a little break for a stifled Rousseff administration.
Dilma’s team has been hamered by the economic crisis, the downgrade by Standard and Poor’s in September, Brazil’s junk credit rating status, the corruption scandal at Petrobras and the popularity ratings of the president that are at a historically low after less than a year in office.
And the campaign against Rousseff does not end here. Minutes after learning of the decision of the Supreme Court, the opposition announced that the impeachment request will come later, but that it will come.