Brazil: The Clock Is Ticking
When and how the Brazilian crisis will end? There isn’t a clear answer to this question yet. President Dilma Rousseff is going through hell. Difficulties have been deepening for months. The economy has sunk into the worst recession since the 1930s. Investors are running away and her political weakness has rendered her government powerless in the face of rising unemployment and falling living standards.
A massive scandal surrounding Petrobras, the state-run oil colossus Petrobras, of which she was once chairman, has implicated senior figures in her Workers’ Party and some of the people closest to her. Her approval ratings are barely in double digits and almost 3 million people have recently taken to the streets to demonstrate their disapproval of her administration, the biggest ever anti-government protest in Brazil`s history.
The latest act of this drama hits Roussef`s credibility hard. On March 16th she made the extraordinary decision to appoint her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to be her chief of staff. But just days before Mr. Luiz Inácio had been briefly detained for questioning, and now prosecutors accuses him of hiding assets from authorities. By acquiring the rank of a government minister, the former president would have partial immunity: only the country’s Supreme Court could try him. In the event, a judge on the court has suspended his appointment.
At this very moment Mrs. Rousseff faces impeachment proceedings in Congress. How is it going to end? It is not clear, but the clock is surely ticking to Brazil`s government. Her departure would offer Brazil the chance of a fresh start, but it would be just the first step to get Brazil out of its mess.