The Senate gave the go-ahead to the impeachment trial by 55-22 in the early hours of Thursday after more than 20 hours of heated discussion, with each lawmaker claiming to have acted in the public interest and have the law on his or her side.
RULING PARTY SUFFERS SETBACK
The immediate consequence of Thursday’s voting is that Rousseff will be removed from office temporarily until the Senate submits the case to a final trial, which will happen in up to 180 days. Vice President Michel Temer will take over in the period.
Considering the fact that the opposition managed to get two-thirds in the first voting, more than the votes needed to impeach the president in the final trial, the government’s chance is slim.
Eugenio Bucci, a professor at the University of Sao Paulo, said that the result of the voting means that the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) has suffered a severe setback and the Senate controlled by the opposition will speed up the process of impeachment against Rousseff, who is very unlikely to be reinstated.
What destroyed the PT government is not the opposition but itself, Bucci said, adding that the ruling party failed to adjust its industrial policy and promote tax and pension reforms, which led to an economic crisis in Brazil.
On the other hand, according to Bucci, after governing Brazil for more than a decade, the PT’s consciousness of serving the people has gradually weakened and some of its core members were investigated and even jailed for corruption, which has greatly eroded the PT’s image in people’s heart.
STRUGGLE YET TO END
Analysts say that even if Rousseff is ousted, the path for her successor Temer will never be smooth.
On April 5, Supreme Court justice Marco Aurelio Mello ordered the lower house of congress to install a special commission to analyze the impeachment of Temer.
According to Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, if Rousseff is impeached due to the alleged fiscal manipulations in 2014 and 2015, then Temer, as her vice president, was also involved and should be impeached, too.
Rousseff, for her part, denies the allegations against her. Last Friday, she vowed to fight “until the last day” after a special commission in the Senate recommended that an impeachment trial be opened against her.
“I am the living proof that a coup is being orchestrated against all advances made in the last 13 years,” the president said in a speech given at the Planalto presidential palace.
Lindberch Farias, a senator of the PT, said that Rousseff’s suspension is only a defeat in one combat and the party will keep fighting so that Rousseff will not be convicted in the end.
Humberto Costa, another senator of the ruling party, said that the PT will carry out an all-dimensional fight in the Congress and streets and will resort to legislation if necessary.
RECOVERING ECONOMY BIGGEST CHALLENGE
How to realize political stability, revitalize the sluggish economy and maintain social stability will be the biggest challenge facing Brazil’s future leader.
Official data showed that Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 3.8 percent last year due to the fall in commodity product prices, which was the worst performance in the past 25 years. And if the GDP continues to decrease this year, it will be the first time that the Brazilian economy suffers a recession for two consecutive years since 1930.
Brazil is expected to see a reduction of 3.77 percent in its GDP, and an inflation rate of 7.14 percent and an unemployment rate of up to 9 percent in 2016. Some experts even predicted that the economic recession in Brazil would continue until 2018.
Acting President Temer has said that his priority after taking office will be to guarantee renewed economic growth, upgrade Brazil’s credit rating and restore the international financial market’s confidence in the country. He also said he would keep the PT’s social programs.
Besides, Temer said his government was looking to cut unnecessary public posts and seeking the privatization of state-run companies.
However, a commentary published on Brazilian weekly magazine Epoca said that Temer will meet obstruction of his reforms of the pension system and labor policy.