On the heels of the news that Brazil’s recession has deepened, the speaker of Brazil’s lower house, Eduardo Cunha, has announced he will initiate impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff. Bloomberg:
Cunha told reporters in Brasilia on Wednesday he “profoundly regrets” what’s happening. “May our country overcome this process,” he said.
The impeachment process could take months, involving several votes in Congress that ultimately may result in the president’s ouster. Rousseff would challenge any impeachment proceedings in the Supreme Court, according to a government official with direct knowledge of her defense strategy.
The speaker’s decision will put the president’s support in Congress to a test after government and opposition spent months trying to rally lawmakers to their sides. The move also threatens to paralyze Rousseff’s economic agenda as she focuses on saving her political life rather than reviving growth. Her ouster would mark the downfall of the ruling Workers’ Party that won global renown for lifting tens of millions from poverty before becoming ensnared in Brazil’s largest-ever corruption scandal.
For those interested, Bloomberg has a good primer on how impeachment works in Brazil. The gist: If the lower house votes to impeach, it goes to the Senate. At that point, Dilma would no longer serve as President until proceedings end or 180 days have passed. As of now, it’s not clear how much support there is for impeachment, but Cunha presumably wouldn’t move the process forward if doing so weren’t at least somewhat popular.
Needless to say, Dilma’s ouster would be a huge setback for Brazil’s Leftist Worker’s Party. The Latin Lefty meltdown continues.