The impeachment of Dillma Rousseff: Brazil's president in a crisis

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment in her second term due to a corruption scandal

Mar 31, 2016 10:46 IST
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Brazil's first ever female President, Dilma Rousseff, who has been embroiled in a corruption scandal for almost a year now, might soon be replaced by Michel Temer, who is currently the Vice President of Brazil. This comes after her greatest ally, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) finally withdrew from their 13 year old coalition on Tuesday, which increases chances of her impeachment in the Brazilian parliament.


First Female President Dilma Dilma Rousseff and Lula: Presidents of Brazil  (Picture credit: The New Yorker)

The reason for the current crisis in the President's second term is the 'Lava Jato' scandal, a case that opened up several other investigations, bringing prominent businesses and leaders under public scrutiny. It is a money laundering scam involving state oil company Petrobas, and many construction companies for kickbacks to highly places officials. Currently there are almost two dozen investigations underway to get to the roots of the scam. Rousseff is also in a tight spot for appoining former president Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva as Chief of Staff  position, disregarding the spate of corruption charges against him. The Supreme Court stepped in here, suspending the appointment on the grounds that the office will give him immunity from being arrested.

However, all the spotlight is on her, not him. The New Yorker is calling her the Richard Nixon of Brazil. Economist and former Marxist Guerrilla, Rousseff is being alleged of manipulating government spending accounts to help her re-election in the 2014 elections of the largest economy in South America (CNBC). This happens at a time when the country is in a state of economic crisis and is also hit by the Zika virus epidemic.


When she first came to office in 2012, everyone was looking forward to a more liberated, freer space for women in the 31 year old democracy of Brazil. In her reign, the ratio of women in the parliament rose from 9% to 16%. She expected to bring this ratio up to the 30 % quota by the end of her term, which might not happen now.

While some senior opposition leaders claim that she is being framed by opposition leaders as a means of vengeance against her consecutive wins, the fact is that the entire nation is shaken up by this crisis and people are out on the streets in protest. Her political future looks bleak, and the collateral damage might be the nation's mistrust in any female leadership.


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