By: Eric Nepomuceno, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Source: Pagina12.com.ar / The Dawn News / February 23, 2016. February brings back the activities of both the Congress and the Supreme Court in Brazil, after the break started on 23 December.
The political scene is quite complex this year in the Supreme Court. Among other defendants, will appear Eduardo Cunha, President of the Chamber of Deputies. He is under investigation by that Court, which is even examining a request from the Attorney General of the Union for him to lose his parliamentary seat. Also Renan Calheiros, President of the Senate, has denounces in the same court in six different investigations. And last but not least, there is President Dilma Rousseff herself, against whom Cunha wants to open a trial in the Chamber of Deputies in order to remove her from her seat, by using methods that the very same Supreme Court has considered irregular.
This possibility is nothing but an example -quite illustrative, by the way- of the new scenario that is opening from now.
Throughout the long parliamentary recess, conspirators vigorously redoubled their activity in Brasilia. The government is seeking to re-group an alliance that in 2015 showed to be quite brittle and uncontrollable, and that isn’t reliable at all. The opposition is looking for ways to push forward in the institutional coup form the Parliament and, at the same time, is studying alternatives on where to focus its efforts.
Amid the conspiratorial turmoil, Eduardo Cunha’s figure came up, trying to apply a strategy that would allow him to remain as President of the Chamber, with enough strength to continue devoting every minute of his day to bring down President Dilma Rousseff.
From now on, we’ll see who’s more effective in their efforts. The government also has the difficult task of reviving an economy that is in a serious crisis, regaining confidence from entrepreneurs, and at the same time seeking to recapture any hope left in the public opinion.
Neither task is easy for any of the characters of this confusing plot. For the opposition, defeated at the polls, the possibility of triumph of an institutional coup became more difficult after the decision of the Supreme Federal Tribunal to annul Cunha’s maneuver in the Chamber of Deputies and determine that the entire trial process to remove Rousseff should return to square one.
It’s true, Cunha continues to control a substantial portion -an estimated 120 to 150 deputies- of the total 513 members of the House. But the abundant evidence of corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion against him, has served to discredit him in the public opinion.
For the PSDB(1), the party of former right-wing President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, supporting Cunha’s coup maneuver entails a significant wearing out, and mainly the high possibility that this maneuver ultimately fails after not reaching the sufficient number of accessions to impeach the President.
Facing this picture, the PSDB (now led by Senator Aécio Neves, who was defeated by Dilma in 2014) decided to turn its efforts to another level: the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), which filed an action aimed at suspending the mandates of both the President and its Vice President, Michel Temer, due to “economic abuse” and for having allegedly received illegal money in their victorious campaign. If these accusations were to be confirmed, new elections would be called within 90 days.
The government, in turn, is being increasingly pressured by the so-called Operation Lava Jato, which investigates corruption in Petrobras. Both the Federal Police and the Public Ministry, and especially the judge Sergio Moro, who is leading the process, are shamelessly putting all their efforts into achieving what has always seemed to be their main objective: destroying the PT in general and most particularly, its maximum historical figure, former President Lula da Silva.
Based on fragile and dubious arguments, Lula da Silva and his wife began to be investigated for “concealment of assets”. Pressuring Lula means directly pressuring Worker’s Party (PT) and therefore, the government.
If under the protection of Lula Dilma Rousseff led a fragile and confusing administration, then with Lula under threat the situation could reach serious levels.
It’s as if 2016 was starting just now. And in a highly electrifying way: the season promises high emotions.
(1)The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB, also translated as “Party of Brazilian Social Democracy” or “Brazilian Social Democratic Party”) is a centrist political party in Brazil. The third largest party in the National Congress, PSDB has been the main opposition against the administrations of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff