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Fair probe must before Rousseff impeachment

Massive recession and charges of juggling government accounts to disguise the depth of budget shortfalls during her 2014 re-election, combined to weigh heavily on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who is currently facing imminent impeachment. But she and her supporters argue that this relatively technical accusation regarding the budget is not an impeachable offence. Indeed, the grip is tightening on Rousseff, with opponents sensing that the country’s first female president’s tenure is, more or less, over.
The economic situation in Brazil and corruption charges against Rousseff’s party, reduced approval ratings for her government to around 10 percent to
increase her woes.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who founded the Workers’ Party and retains huge influence on the left, has come to Rousseff’s rescue. He coordinates the intense behind-the-scenes haggling to secure votes to prevent the impeachment. But the veteran Lula is staring at his own potential downfall too.
He is accused of money laundering in a case linked to a gargantuan embezzlement and bribery scheme at state oil company Petrobras which has already seen dozens of high-ranking politicians and executives snared by prosecutors.
Lula denies the charge, deeming it a politicised fabrication. Sadly, Lula and Rousseff are in trouble for allegedly trying to obstruct prosecutors.
In what is seen as political manoeuvre, Rousseff surprisingly named Lula in her cabinet, where he would gain considerable ministerial immunity from the corruption prosecutors. Rousseff says he was named because of his important political role, rather than any attempt to escape legal troubles.
Even as the drama is played out, the impeachment committee prepares to vote on a report presented last week that concluded Rousseff bypassed
Congress in authorising credits to mask a growing budget deficit.
Interestingly, this political uncertainty has made a good impact on the Brazilian economy. Brazil’s stocks and assets were buoyed with speculation that Rousseff is getting closer to being ousted.
While Brazil’s currency, the most volatile in emerging markets, rose 2.7 percent to 3.5904 per dollar on Friday. A gauge of developing-nation currencies advanced as commodity prices increased the most in two months. The Ibovespa climbed 5.9 percent in dollar terms, the most among more than 90 gauges tracked by Bloomberg.
Traders pushed up the value of Brazil’s assets on Friday after O Estado de S. Paulo reported more lawmakers are in favour of impeachment and Brazil’s prosecutor general recommended Lula be prevented from joining Rousseff’s cabinet, saying the appointment may be designed to interfere with graft probes.
The real and local stocks led global gains in the first quarter on wagers that a new government would boost confidence and get the country out of its worst recession in more than a century.
“Besides the improvement in commodities and emerging-market currencies, news that the government is losing ground in its impeachment battle are driving local assets such as the real, stocks and swap rates,” said Leonardo Monoli, a partner at Jive Asset Gestao de Recursos in Sao Paulo.
Brazil, like many other developing nations, is heavily dependent on raw materials for jobs and trade. Commodities account for more than half of Brazil’s exports.
Only a transparent investigation will bring to the fore whether Rousseff and her allies turned Petrobras into a cash machine for election campaigns and
personal gain! A probe must be carried out, before unseating the President.
The impeachment proposed against Rousseff is a democratic safeguard written into the 1988 constitution, a document drafted to cleanse the country of dictatorial ways. Her ruling party lawmakers had petitioned 50 times to impeach three presidents in the last quarter century. But the tables turned have against the party to experience what other leaders suffered at its hands. Can the huge legacy of the party during Lula and the forthcoming Olympic Games save a battling Rousseff?

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