The Senate impeached Dilma Roussef, Brazil’s first female president, on Wednesday, August 31, and removed her from office for the rest of her term —which would have ended in 2018.
The impeachment put an end to the left wing party government that had been in power for 13 years. An era that raised Brazil’s economy, brought millions of people to the middle class, and raised the country’s profile from a worldly perspective.
The worst economic crisis in decades followed the success of the workers’ party. Many citizens became aware of corruption scandals, and the politicians who were involved, which complicated the country’s political situation.
Michel Temer, interim president as well as the vice president during Roussef’s term, will remain in office until 2018. Temer, 75, is now the oldest president Brazil has ever had.
Temer has had extremely low approval since he took over. Temer represents the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) which was also involved in the same schemes and bribes the workers’ party were. A construction executive has testified against the president, saying that he accepted a $300,000 bribe; He denies.
“It’s painfully obvious that Temer is a slap in the face to Brazilian democracy,” said Creuza Maria Oliveira, the president of the National Federation of Domestic Workers, to the New York Times. Michel Temer became interim president in May, and many of the men named by him have already resigned. He named a cabinet without any female or Afro-Brazilian ministers, shifting the government to the extreme right. Mr. Temer’s decision made thousands of Brazilians angry, and led to a lot of criticism.
Dilma Roussef has not been accused of illegally enriching herself. She lacked charisma and humility according to many, but she has never taken money from the government for personal use. Her trial revolved around the question: has she committed an impeachable offense? She manipulated federal budget...just like her predecessors did.
Roussef’s opponents argued that her administration’s transfers complicated Brazil’s credibility when it comes to the economy. They also claim that she used some money to help get re-elected in 2014.
“If you want to condemn her, go ahead, but don’t mock the honor of a dignified woman,” said Mr. Cardozo, Roussef’s lawyer, to the New York Times on how the opponents dragged Roussef’s family into the debate despite her never being accused of using public funds to benefit her family.
“You never fit in the cute little dress designed by the conservative elite of this country,” Ms. Regina Sousa said to the New York Times.