Brazil’s political uncertainty must be resolved by the end of August — its Olympic-hosting month — by reaching a verdict in the impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, her interim replacement said. Michel Temer, the vice president who has been acting head of state since May, said he expected Rousseff would be definitively booted from office. That would make him president until the next elections in 2018.
His comments came during a briefing with international news agencies just one week before Brazil declares the 2016 Olympic Games open in Rio de Janeiro. “The world needs to know who is the president” of Brazil, Temer said on Friday. He argued an impeachment trial verdict was necessary for Brazil to decide who would represent it at a G20 summit in China on September 4 and 5.
“We are hoping that the resolution of the impeachment comes between August 25 and 26, because if it takes to September 4, 5 or 6, Brazil will not be able to go to the G20 summit,” Temer said. He said he was already “acting as if I will stay on” as president. But he stressed that the procedure was entirely in the hands of the Brazilian Senate, which will decide Rousseff’s fate by holding the impeachment trial.
Rousseff, from the leftist Workers’ Party and the chosen heir of popular former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is accused of breaking government budget laws. She says the charges are trumped up and insists she can survive the judgment vote in the Senate. But the odds look stacked against her, and many analysts and observers believe it’s likely the Senate will muster the two-third vote needed to strip her of the presidency.
She has accused Temer, of the center-right PMDB party, of treason by working with those against her. Temer reaffirmed in the briefing that he had no intention of standing for election as president in 2018. “I will not be the candidate” of the PMDB, he said. Rousseff and Lula will both boycott the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games, which run August 5-21, aides said this week. Rousseff told France’s RFI radio network on Monday that she would not accept “a secondary role in the Games in Rio.” Temer is expected to preside over the Olympics as Brazil’s interim leader.
Rousseff’s popularity plunged in her second term starting 2014 amid a deep recession and an explosive corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras. Officials said Lula will stand trial on charges of attempting to obstruct a probe into alleged graft involving Petrobras.