Tags: Rouseff | Brazil | Impeachment | Brazil | Address | canceled

Rousseff Cancels National Address as Impeachment Divides Brazil

Rousseff Cancels National Address as Impeachment Divides Brazil
(Getty Images)

Saturday, 16 April 2016 09:58 AM

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff canceled a scheduled address to the nation on Friday after the opposition took legal measures to stop her, underscoring the political tensions in a country just two days from a crucial impeachment vote.

Rousseff was supposed to speak out on television and radio in defense of her presidency. Her public-relations strategy hit a roadblock after opposition parties filed legal motions that argued she can't make a public address to mount a personal defense. Leading Brazilian newspapers Estado de S. Paulo and O Globo report there are enough votes in the lower house on Sunday to move the impeachment process forward.

The political tensions are approaching a climax, as lawmakers on Friday started a marathon session of debate that will culminate in Sunday's televised impeachment vote. Financial markets surged this week on the prospect of her more business-friendly Vice President Michel Temer taking over the top job. Brazilian stocks extended a rally that has pushed the benchmark Ibovespa up 23 percent this year.

Sunday's vote "is huge -- it really is," said Melvyn Levitsky, a former U.S. ambassador to Brazil and a professor of international policy and practice at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy. "Brazil hasn't faced a crisis like this -- not this bad."

Political Momentum

Rousseff lost some political momentum in recent weeks as her biggest partners abandoned the ruling coalition, depriving her of key votes in Congress. If 342 of 513 lower house lawmakers back impeachment on Sunday, the case moves to the Senate. There, only a simple majority is required to temporarily remove her from office. Two-thirds of the senators are needed to force her out permanently.

The administration faced another setback early Friday when the Supreme Court rejected a government motion to stop this weekend's session in Congress. In an eight-to-two vote, the justices shot down government arguments the impeachment motion is flawed and unfounded. The ruling could give efforts to oust Rousseff an added air of legitimacy, after the administration spent months trying to paint impeachment as an attempted coup.

Meanwhile a federal judge accepted one of the opposition's motions to prevent Rousseff from giving a national address on Friday night. She instead will distribute a video on social media, her press office said.

One positive sign emerged for the administration when newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported that the opposition lost two supporters of the impeachment process, meaning it no longer has the votes to win approval of the motion on Sunday.

The impeachment request against Rousseff argues she broke the law by masking budget deficits with illegal loans from state banks, which contributed to the erosion of public finances. Brazil's budget gap has more than trebled since 2014 to 11 percent of gross domestic product, the highest on record.

"It's not just a mere accounting issue," Miguel Reale Jr., one of the authors of the impeachment request, told Congress on Friday. "The coup was when they hid the fact that the country was broke."

Competing Rallies

The debate over Rousseff's presidency has spilled into the streets, as her supporters and detractors stage demonstrations to pressure members of Congress. Anti-impeachment groups on Friday morning blocked traffic on main roads in Sao Paulo.

Both sides of the political spectrum are expected to hold competing rallies in Brazil's largest cities over the weekend — particularly on Sunday.

"This Sunday will be the worst Sunday of my life," Ze Geraldo, the leader of the ruling Workers' Party in the lower house, said in a speech Friday, where he called impeachment "illegal, immoral and dirty."

© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


GlobalTalk
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff canceled a scheduled address to the nation on Friday after the opposition took legal measures to stop her, underscoring the political tensions in a country just two days from a crucial impeachment vote.
Rouseff, Brazil, Impeachment, Brazil, Address, canceled
594
2016-58-16
Saturday, 16 April 2016 09:58 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved