The Brazilian government crisis: what to do?

The Brazilian government crisis: what to do?

Brazil’s Lula and Bolsonaro are about to face off again. What you need to know for Tuesday

Brazil’s left-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, has taken power in a coup, but the country’s right-wing president, Michel Temer, is now in office following impeachment proceedings. If the situation in power remains the same, what’s the best way to deal with it?

Brazil’s government crisis of the day – which has been going since 5 July – has two big players: the head of state and the former president Dilma Rousseff. Since then, the president of the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT), a pro-market, pro-business politician, Jair Bolsonaro, has been in an unexpected role as an unelected president. He has the authority to appoint and to dissolve the Congress. He could even change the constitution.

The Congress, the lower house of parliament – Brazil’s version of Congress – is not controlled by political parties for obvious reasons. It represents the executive power, and since it is controlled by the president, it is a key executive power in the country.

This puts Jair Bolsonaro in an unexpected situation. He was originally elected president by the Brazilian people on 1 February 2019 in an election in which nearly 97% of voters turned out – one of the highest turnouts ever in Brazil – but had he been elected by the lower house they would have rejected him.

Bolsonaro is now in a similar position. He would not have been able to be elected by the lower house because only the upper house can approve major laws such as the impeachment of a president. But in this case they have voted, and for the impeachment of the first term president Eduardo Dusseldo – the man he fired in January – of which he has already won confirmation in the lower house, a body controlled by the PT.

A third option was a second round of elections. But all third-round elections in Brazil end up with the same outcome; the candidate that loses in the first round is the president, and the candidate that wins the second round is the vice president. This is a logical consequence of the Constitution: whoever has the advantage of the second round is the president.

What will happen next is anybody’s guess, and as events

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