Brazil’s President Faces Possible Impeachment

Brazil’s President Faces Possible Impeachment

President Dilma Rousseff, who is now in her second term as President of Brazil, had already been losing support from the Brazilian people after the economy’s recent plummet, due in part to a political scandal that allegedly involved the President herself. Now Dilma faces the possibility of impeachment.

Just a few months ago, politicians were found embezzling money from the state-owned oil company Petrobras. The act, along with falling global oil prices, devastated Brazil’s economy[1]. Unemployment rates are at their highest point in the past five years, inflation is on the rise, and Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is predicted to plummet by 1.3%– the worst economic setback of the past quarter-century [2]. Rousseff was chairwoman of Petrobras while the money laundering scheme, Lava Jato (Car wash), was taking place, and numerous members belonging to her party, the Labor Party (PT), have been accused of playing a role in the scandals [3] [4].

read more about the Brazil Petrobras Scandal and what it meant for Brazil’s economy

In response to the crisis, the Democratic Movement Party of Brazil (PMDB), led by lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, has been publicly revolting against Rousseff’s Party. Cunha and other members of the PMDB have openly humiliated Rousseff on various occasions. Cunha states that an impeachment would be a “backwards step for democracy” since it would be the first impeachment in the past quarter-century, but he is still willing to consider the possibility, even though Cunha himself is being investigated for participations in the Lava Jato scheme.[5] Successfully impeaching Rousseff, however, would be a long, complex process involving a vote of 342 lower house deputies followed by 54 senators [6].

Even within the Labor Party, Rousseff faces discontent. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva–past President of Brazil, Rousseff’s former mentor, and a current member of PT–stated that the current government has not been fulfilling promises that it made during elections last year [7].  

The people of Brazil have been taking their own action, organizing rallies all over Brazil. Last August, over seven-hundred thousand people protested against Rousseff’s government  [8]. “I’m in favor of anything that will take that party out of government, even impeachment” [9] said one protester, while others expressed a more general distaste for corruption: “I’m here because I believe Brazil can change. Enough corruption! Enough thieving already!” he exclaimed [10].


by Bradford Lin ’18