Unstable economy, politics cloud Brazil

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-19 0:33:01

Brazil's lower house won the two-thirds majority on Monday it needed to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. A simple majority of the upper house is enough to suspend her for up 180 days. The leftist president now stands at a political precipice.

Rousseff has been impeached over charges of manipulating government accounts, and is widely accused of corruption and juggling the accounts to make Brazil's economic performance appear better. But deep down, this comes because her government is unable to lead the country out of its current economic plight.

Brazil enjoyed robust exports, massive foreign exchange revenue and improved social well-being in recent years due to speedy development of other emerging countries like China. But in 2015, Brazil witnessed a negative growth of 3.8 percent and its welfare policy was crippled.

The weakened capabilities of the leftist government in promoting social benefits allowed rightists to thrive in Latin America. Rousseff's Workers' Party can't rule without support from a dozen parties, and negative growth prompted some of these parties to split from Rousseff and her party.

However, impeaching Rousseff won't mean a U-turn for Brazil. Rousseff has been endorsed by the poor in Brazil and she allegedly manipulated government accounts in a bid to protect them. With staggering income disparity, Brazil's trade unions will again be revitalized if Rousseff steps down.

In this sense, Brazil can be tilting toward neither left nor right. In elections, candidates compete to make enticing promises to the public, which they can hardly honor. The Brazilian system encourages politicians to compete for interim favor of the public by blaming others.

Brazil is blessed with ample resources, and much habitable land which is not over-populated. But it is stuck in the middle-income trap and faced with an unstable economic and political situation as its political system is unable to handle the diversity and complexity of society. Aside from Rousseff, the vice president and head of the Senate are also mired in corruption scandals. Brazil does not have a comprehensive anti-corruption scheme in place and corruption accusations are often exploited.

The impeachment of Rousseff opens a new battlefield of political struggle in the country. Such impeachment may happen unexpectedly in the future as Brazil's 30-some parties can hardly win half of the votes required to rule, so the country is more likely to be ruled by a coalition of small parties.

Brazilians are nominally given democratic rights, but apparently they are unable to influence the country's political direction.

Posted in: Editorial

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