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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Brazil’s Rousseff Impeached and Removed from Office: A Case of Partisan Politics?

Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office at the end of August, 2016. The state’s senate voted 61-20 to convict her on charges that she used illegal bookkeeping maneuvers to hid a growing budget deficit.[1] Her defense that she did not enrich herself through public office—that she did not steal public money for her own account—can be regarded as an attempt to deflect the legislators from the existing charges.[2] Only 56 legislators were necessary for a two-thirds majority. Given the problems of hyperinflation and fiscal mismanagement, including a growing public debt, her offenses were “deemed an impeachable crime.”[3] Although Brazil was hardly the only country where the chief executive has sought under political pressure to make a budget deficit look smaller than it actually was, enforcing deterring consequences even just in this case is laudable—while other, partisan motives, detracted from the vote’s legitimacy.

The complete essay is at "Partisan Impeachment in Brazil?"

1. Paulo Trevisani and Reed Johnson, “Brazilian President Rousseff Ousted,” The Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2016.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.