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Geopolitics

Folha Editorial: Dilma Rousseff Must Resign

Paralyzed by scandal and the threat of the president's impeachment, Brazil can only be governed successfully with new — and irreproachable — leadership.

Protesters in favor of President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment, April 3, 2016
Protesters in favor of President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment, April 3, 2016

-Editorial-


SAO PAULO — President Dilma Rousseff has lost the ability to govern Brazil.

We regret having to make this conclusion. It's never desirable to interrupt a presidential mandate won democratically, even through legal means.

But after her Workers' Party played an active role in the country's worst corruption scandal in living memory, after being reelected thanks to blatant electoral fraud, and after her government has brought about the worst recession in Brazilian history, Rousseff is getting what she deserves.

An overwhelming majority of Brazilians favor her impeachment. The largest political demonstrations ever seen in Brazil called for her removal from power. The dominating forces in the always opportunistic Congress have occupied the void left by the collapse of Rousseff's government.

For the ruling party, the administration currently serves two purposes. First of all, it blocks the impeachment via a shameless purchase of parliamentary support, and second, it protects former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his comrades from their troubles with the law.

Even if she wins the battle in Brazil's lower house of Congress, which seems more improbable every day, it's impossible to see how she'd manage to govern the country again. The factors that have led to her loss of authority would still remain.

As long as Rousseff stays in office, the country will remain tense, paralyzed. The main hurdle to Brazil's recovery is the president.

This newspaper will continue to strive to publish a balanced summary of the facts and to reflect a broad spectrum of opinions, but it now counts itself among those who prefer her resignation to a constitutional ouster.

While there are reasons for Rousseff's impeachment, none of them is irrefutable. Evidence of misconduct isn't lacking, but there's still no incontrovertible proof.

Discouraged as it might be, the Workers' Party still has the backing of a vocal minority and an impeachment would very likely leave a trail of resentment. The president's resignation, on the other hand, a selfless and realistic gesture, would be a sign of her awareness that conditions beyond her willingness are preventing her from executing her job responsibilities.

Michel Temer, Rousseff's vice president and leader of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party that recently left the ruling coalition, should demonstrate the same awareness, given that he too lacks sufficient support among voters. Given the exceptional gravity of this crisis, it would be a blessing if power could be returned as quickly as possible to the people so that they could tap someone with the legitimacy required to promote the structural reforms needed to lead Brazil out of its stagnation.

The Superior Electoral Court will evaluate the campaign accounts of the ticket elected in 2014 and may annul them. Whichever solution prevails, the rejection of campaign accounts or the double resignation, voters would be summoned to choose a new president within 90 days.

First and foremost, it is essential that the lower house of Congress or the Federal Supreme Court remove once and for all the murky figure of Eduardo Cunha, the House president and next in succession to the presidency. He is also a defendant in that court and someone who must never be allowed to run Brazil in the intervening period.

Dilma Rousseff must resign immediately. Only this would spare the country the trauma of an impeachment process, and help it overcome both the impasse that paralyzes it, as well as the unprecedented calamity of the current government.

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Photo of ​Chiara Torruella, 19, sleeping in a store

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