Dilma Hints New Elections Could End Political Crisis

Source:  TeleSUR
May 9 2016

“From a political point of view, the highest judge is the Brazilian people. If they want to put my government on trial, let them turn to the Brazilian people and not impeachment. Only those who have legitimacy by virtue of votes can judge,” said Rousseff during an event in the state of Tocantins Sunday.

dilma reflecting.jpg

For the first time since impeachment proceedings began, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff hinted that she was amendable to holding new elections as a means of addressing the ongoing political crisis in the country that could see the head of state ousted from power.

“From a political point of view, the highest judge is the Brazilian people. If they want to put my government on trial, let them turn to the Brazilian people and not impeachment. Only those who have legitimacy by virtue of votes can judge,” said Rousseff during an event in the state of Tocantins Sunday.

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Opposition to a new elections among Dilma’s supporters

The holding of new elections, however, is not without controversy, even within Rousseff’s own political base.

The president and her supporters have insisted that efforts to oust her constitute a coup, a means for Brazil’s political elites to reach power without winning elections. For many of her supporters, holding new elections implies that there is some legitimacy to the impeachment drive.

The president of Brazil’s Trade Union Confederation, or CUT, an important base of support for the ruling Workers’ Party, opposes the idea for holding new elections as it would “institutionalize the coup.”

“I don’t support that proposal … individually and as a militant, I am against it. The president would have to resign for us to have a new election and that would mean accepting the coup,” Segundo Vagner Freitas, CUT president, told Carta Capital.

Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers Movement, known as the MST, has also come out against holding new elections.

Convening new elections would not be an easy task, it would require a constitutional amendment to be approved by the very same Congress that has shown it is willing to oust Rousseff by any means.

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Coup-supporters also opposes new elections

Michel Temer, Rousseff’s vice president and one-time ally turned coup-supporter, also opposes new elections but for wildly different reasons. He is set to form Brazil’s government should the Senate convene a trial against Rousseff, a move that would require the president step down, at least temporarily.

The vice president is a deeply unpopular politician, a survey by Ibope found that only nine percent of respondents believe a Temer-led government is the best solution to the crisis. Temer could never win the presidency through direct elections.

Temer told Brazilian outlets recently that the impeachment drive is not a coup but that the holding of new elections would be a “coup.”

Supreme court suspends Cunha

The vice president also lost a key ally when the Supreme Court suspended Eduardo Cunha, the former head of the Chamber of Deputies.

Cunha is also deeply unpopular but he is a savvy politician, who has managed to avoid jail despite several serious criminal allegations. According to Brazilian journalist Renata Lo Prete, Cunha has been sending Temer coded messages, threatening to air Temer’s dirty laundry should Cunha be jailed.

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The Brazilian Senate is set to vote on whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings Wednesday. If the Senate votes to convene a political trial, Rousseff will have to immediately step down as the trial proceeds.

Sources close to Rousseff has said that if that comes to pass, she would exit via the “main door” of the presidential palace and would refuse to personally hand over her authority to Temer.

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