As a world, we watched a celebratory opening ceremony full of culture and history in Rio de Janeiro, but past the famous city’s beauty, the Brazilian government is in turmoil.
Like the United States, Brazil is a representative democracy with three branches — executive, legislative and judicial — of federal government. The country is led by a popularly-elected president and executive cabinet, and the government must adhere to the writings of a constitution. However, in mid-May, the system felt shockwaves.
Dilma Rousseff, the first female Brazilian president, was suspended and voted on trial for corruption in her administration. Officially, her crime is bookkeeping maneuvers to hide a massive budget deficit, but there are other nuances of her presidency that have been unfavorable such as other economic corruption and partisan payouts. The trial will take place one week after the Olympic closing ceremony, and the Senate needs a two-thirds majority to convict the suspended president. The tweet below, translated from Portuguese, reads "Impeachment without crime of responsibility is hit. We are still fighting against the coup and for democracy."
Rousseff’s former running mate, Michel Temer, assumed office after the suspension and will remain there until the 2018 election. Rousseff’s supporters have protested against the interim president since the coup and even booed him during the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Rousseff herself believes that her former ally organized the political coup against her, which obviously fuels an anti-Temer sentiment throughout the country with her supporters and beyond.
A presidential impeachment, for which Rousseff is headed in this trial, is hard on a country and its system in general. Here in the United States, two of our presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. President Richard Nixon was almost impeached but resigned before the process could be completed. But, of course, none of these men were convicted by the Senate, so the situations weren’t even as traumatic as what Brazil is currently experiencing. Add the corruption to the system that Rousseff caused and the division of the Brazilian people on either side of the coup, and the country has serious issues to work through in the coming years until the next popular election.
Lead Image Credit: AK Rockefeller via Flickr Creative Commons