By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Security around the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) building in Brasilia is being reinforced for the start of the trial that seeks the annulment of the 2014 Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer presidential ticket. This is the first time that a Brazilian court examines a request for annulment of a presidential election result.
The results of the 2014 presidential elections are being questioned by the PSDB (Brazilian Social Democrat Party) that allege there were some irregularities in the winning ticket’s donations, including suspicion that the Rousseff-Temer campaign received funds from the mega-corruption scheme dubbed Operação Lava Jato (Car Wash Operation). If irregularities are found to be true, President Michel Temer could be ousted from the Presidency.
According to the PSDB the Rousseff-Temer presidential campaign is guilty of abuse of political and economic power, obtaining campaign donations from companies involved in the Lava Jato scheme and bribing Petrobras executives for contract benefits. Executives from the state-owned oil giant were charged and convicted of receiving millions of dollars from construction and logistics companies for contracts.
Rousseff and Temer are presenting separate and distinct defenses. The defense of former president, Dilma Rousseff, impeached last year for mismanagement of funds, denies any irregularity and maintains that the entire campaign funding was documented and monitored. The defense of President Michel Temer states that the PMDB election campaign has no relation to suspicious activities.
If the Rousseff-Temer ticket is annulled, the Brazilian Constitution states that, after half of the presidential term, if the positions of president and vice-president become vacant, congress must choose the new representative.
Over the weekend protests in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo rejected the option of having congress choose a new leadership if the 2014 results are annulled. Demonstrators called for new presidential elections to be held instead.