2016 can easily be described as ‘eventful’ for Brazil. Had it not been for Brexit and the US Presidential election this year, it could very well have been Brazil’s year, though not in a good way.
The first major development to unfold was the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff – the first female elected to the office of the President of Brazil. On May 12, 2016, she was forced to step down from her position by the Senate which voted 55-22 in favor of impeachment proceedings to begin against her. Inside of two terms as President, she went from being a leader to being a political and economic pariah.
She was accused of tampering with the financial figures of the government by using loans. These loans tampered with the government’s finances and made the country’s budget balance look in a better shape than it actually was. This tampering was deemed illegal by a court and formed the basis of impeachment proceedings against Rousseff. Her economic policies had a lot to do with her impeachment as well.
Not the first to be impeached
Rousseff’s impeachment was not a first for Brazil. In the early 90s, the then President of Brazil Fernando Collor de Mello – till date the youngest President to assume office in Brazil – was impeached after proceedings found him guilty. There were a few things common between both impeachments.
Even during Fernando Collor’s impeachment in 1992, Brazil’s economy was in trouble, similar to the way it was leading up to Rousseff’s impeachment. The country’s economic output had declined 4.3% in 1990, the year in which Collor had assumed office. A downturn in the economy was accompanied by a corruption scandal in both eras.
Another reason why both Collor and Rousseff were impeached was because they betrayed the people by undertaking actions which they had vehemently opposed in their respective election campaigns. Let’s look at that aspect and the post-Rousseff Brazil in the next article.