By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~
The national spirit Brazil had during the Olympics quickly came to a halt as the impeachment of its former President Dilma Rousseff was finalized. This will be the second impeachment out of four presidents Brazil has elected since returning to democracy in 1985.
The Brazilian Senate impeached Rousseff for illegally manipulating government accounts. She had been found guilty of moving funds between government budgets which is illegal under Brazilian law. Some say her purpose for doing so was to plug deficit holes in popular social programs to boost her chances of being re-elected for a second term in October 2014.
Rousseff has denied these accusations and has stated that moving money between budgets was common practice within her office.
“I have not committed a crime, and I am proud that I have been faithful to my commitment to the nation,” Rousseff said.
President Rousseff also believes that her enemies are the ones driving the impeachment as they want to remove her from office without having to wait for the next presidential election. The main driving force behind this impeachment was the former speaker of the house, Eduardo Cunha.
“I’ll plan and fight for Democracy,” Rousseff said. “I don’t fight for my term for the power, but I fight for the democracy, for truth and justice and the people of my country.”
Despite her claims, President Rousseff ’s approval ratings have plummeted from their 79 percent high in March of 2013 to only 10 percent in March of 2016. There have also been mass demonstrations in several Brazilian cities demanding that she resign.
Her removal from office and impeachment has left Brazil sharply divided with an economy that is deep in recession. However, some Brazilians felt a sense of relief that the eight month process of impeachment had finally ended.
“The impeachment does not in any way resolve the political or economic crisis, but it gives us some hope, because for the first time in a long time, we will have a plan,” said Lucas de Aragão, director of Arko Advice, a political analysis firm in Brasilia.
The voting process of her impeachment began in April and led to her suspension in May, leaving her to await trail with the senate until the Olympics were over. On Aug. 31 the senate voted 61 to 20 in favor of President Rousseff ’s impeachment.
Vice President Michel Temer was officially sworn in this week as president as a result of the impeachment and will serve out the remainder of Rousseff ’s term in office until January 2019.
Some sources say Temer is as unpopular as Rousseff and they are worried about his political support in office, even though he has extensive congressional experience.
“I think he can put Brazil back of some kind of track,” said Heron do Carmo, a professor of economics at the University of Sao Paulo.
“The narrative that Temer has stabbed her (Rousseff) in the back will be polarizing for a long time in Brazil. People will disagree about this for a generation,” Director of Latin America Initiative at the Brookings Institute Harold Trinkunas said.
Temer is the oldest person ever to assume the office of the President in Brazil. Temer is a member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (BDMP) and has been since the party’s genesis. Temer takes over a nation plagued in the last year by enormous scandal on both the political and financial sectors. The new President has stated his desire to gain the trust of his people in these trying and divided times.
“My first word for the brazilian people is confidence,” Temer said in his inaugural address. “It is urgent that we pacify the nation and unite Brazil. It is urgent to create a government of national salvation. he vowed not to talk of the crisis, but instead to ‘just work’.