Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Drive To Impeach Brasil's Dilma Clears Big Hurdle


Drive to impeach Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff clears big hurdle

Congressional committee vote brings impeachment one step closer
Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian president, talks to Michel Temer, vice-president
Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian president, talks to Michel Temer, vice-president © Reuters
A Brazilian congressional committee has voted in favour of impeaching PresidentDilma Rousseff for manipulating the budget, bringing her ousting a step closer as currency markets rallied.
The special committee on Monday evening voted by 38 to 27 in favour of MsRousseff’s removal in a decision that sets the stage for a crucial vote in a full session of the lower house of congress as early as Sunday. Lawmakers supporting the leftist president’s impeachment shouted “out with Dilma”, while those against cried: “There will be no coup.”
“There no longer exists the political climate for this government, there no longer exists the political base to sustain it, no one believes any more in this government,” said Jovair Arantes, the leader of the committee, ahead of the vote.
While congress does not have to follow the committee decision, it is considered an early indicator of how events might unfold this weekend.
Markets reacted positively ahead of the vote, with investors pushing the real up 2.73 per cent to R$3.49 against the dollar amid hopes that the man who would replace Ms Rousseff, vice-president Michel Temer of the centrist PMDB party, would be more market-friendly.
The committee vote also came as Mr Temer`s supporters mistakenly released an audio recording on WhatsApp of him practising addressing the nation as though he had already taken over the presidency.
“The great mission from this moment is to bring peace to the country and to reunite the country,” Mr Temer said, according to a recording released by newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.
The committee vote and Mr Temer’s recording were greeted by the government as signs the opposition was plotting a coup.
The government and its supporters deny that Ms Rousseff`s treatment of the budget, in which she is accused of channelling billions of dollars in expenses through the state banks without the permission of congress, as a crime worthy of impeachment.
“What is the crime that she committed?” said José Guimarães, leader of the government in the lower house of congress.
Mr Guimarães said Ms Rousseff had merely anticipated for government programmes for the poor, such as the Bolsa Família, a monthly stipend given to low-income families in return for sending their children to school, by letting state banks pay for them upfront.
“Does she really deserve to be punished for that?” he said.
Brazil's Rousseff fights for survival
But Ms Rousseff`s impeachment comes as her government and its allies are also implicated in a sprawling corruption scandal at Petrobras, the state-owned oil company, and the economy suffers under its worst recession in a century.
If two-thirds of the lower house of congress’s 513 members approve the impeachment motion, it will move to the senate, where a formal political trial will take place.
Ms Rousseff would be suspended during the senate process, which could take up to six months, and Mr Temer would assume the presidency. If Ms Rousseff was impeached, Mr Temer would serve out the presidency until elections in 2018.