Dilma Rousseff impeachment: what you need to know
In her defence, Rousseff said the money was not a loan because it was simply being transferred through the state banks from public coffers. Similar practices had also been used by previous administrations, though not at the same scale.
But this is a pretext. The real reasons for impeachment are political. Rousseff is enormously unpopular because she is blamed for the multiple crises facing the country and has proved an inept leader. But Brazil’s constitution does not allow a no-confidence vote to eject her from office so her enemies are using impeachment to do the job.
Some are clearly motivated by a desire to kill the Lava Jato investigation, which Rousseff refused to do. The impeachment process was initiated by Cunha after the Workers party refused to protect him from an ethics committee investigation.Secretly recorded conversations have also revealed that the PMDB leader in the Senate, Romero Jucá, wanted to remove the president so the Lava Jato investigation could be choked by her successor.
In a best-case scenario, the economy will pick up next year and Lava Jato will purge the nation’s political canker, allowing Latin America’s biggest nation to concentrate more effectively on social equality, sustainable development and regional integration.
Alternatively, the old hierarchy will quietly shelve Lava Jato once Lula and Rousseff are out of the way and restore the conservative policies of the past; or even open the way – as in Italy after the Clean Hands investigation – for a Silvio Berlusconi-like right-wing populist.