Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Those of us who live in Rio de Janeiro have been glued to the tube or trapped in traffic as we attempt to follow the Rio2016 Olympic Games, which enables us to forget about politics for at least a little while. Meanwhile, however, the rest of Brazil is not on Augustan holiday, having adhered to the usual schedule where mid-July is the winter holiday month.
Perhaps surprisingly, even Congress is in session. An important session. A very important session.
On Tuesday, after almost a month of hearings and arguments for and against impeachment, the full Senate voted, 59 votes to 31, to proceed with the formal trial of Dilma Rousseff. This vote followed that of the special committee on impeachment, which recommended impeachment by a 2/3 majority.
Crucially, the number of Senate votes favoring impeachment has now reached five more than the 54 needed to convict Dilma at the trial, and four more votes than were recorded before the evidentiary hearings and arguments began. This means that many Senators, previously on the fence or opposing impeachment, have now made up their minds.
Most commentators believe there is no hope that Dilma will manage to stanch the flow of adverse votes. PT has abandoned the word “coup” nor does it want new elections as Dilma has called for. Even STF Justice Lewandowski, a lifelong petista, has resisted PT’s ploys to avoid a trial.
Dilma’s supporters once counted on a form of legislative blackmail — Senators on the fence would demand that their puppets be appointed to plush government jobs, or they would vote not to impeach. That tactic failed.
The final vote is expected sometime between the end of the Olympics and the beginning of the Paralympics. It is likely to be far less exciting than those Games.
The Curmudgeon wonders why Bernie Sanders fell, hook line and sinker, for the “coup” message most Dilma supporters have now abandoned.