New pres­i­dent, same crises in Brazil

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

BRASÍLIA—It could be a short hon­ey­moon for Brazil’s in­terim pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer, who re­places a deeply un­pop­u­lar leader but in­her­its many of the same prob­lems.

Brazil­ians are hop­ing their coun­try can fi­nally move on from a months-long bat­tle over sus­pended pres­i­dent Dilma Rouss­eff’s im­peach­ment, which dis­tracted their po­lit­i­cal lead­ers from a laun­dry list of woes, in­clud­ing the worst re­ces­sion in decades.

But although Te­mer has the back­ing of the busi­ness world, po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts say he will likely hit many of the same stum­bling blocks as did Rouss­eff, who was sus­pended by the Se­nate on Thurs­day for up to 180 days pend­ing an im­peach­ment trial on charges of hid­ing bud­get short­falls.

Te­mer, who has spent his ca­reer in the wings of power but never at cen­ter stage, will also face some new chal­lenges all his own. - Sick of pol­i­tics A 75-year-old vet­eran of the cen­ter-right, Te­mer is just about as un­pop­u­lar as Rouss­eff, the left­ist leader he served as vice pres­i­dent in an awk­ward, ul­ti­mately aborted al­liance.

While Rouss­eff’s ap­proval rat­ing has tum­bled be­low 10 per­cent, Te­mer would re­ceive just one to two per­cent of the vote in pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent poll.

He has a rep­u­ta­tion in Brasilia as a deft back­door ne­go­tia­tor, but is short on charisma and was all­but un­known to many vot­ers un­til re­cently.

Con­demned by Rouss­eff as the “coup-mon­ger in chief,” he could strug­gle to heal the wounds of the im­peach­ment bat­tle and re­store faith in a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem many Brazil­ians see as hope­lessly cor­rupt.

“He will in­herit a good part of Brazil­ians’ dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the kind of tra­di­tional pol­i­tics he rep­re­sents,” said Thi­ago Bot­tino, an an­a­lyst at the Ge­tulio Var­gas Foun­da­tion. “It’s not go­ing to be easy for him to present him­self as a new man with no re­la­tion to the felled lead­er­ship.”

Lin­coln Secco, a his­to­rian at the Univer­sity of Sao Paulo, said Te­mer would also face an­other prob­lem: Rouss­eff.

“For five to six months, we’ll have the pres­i­dent (Rouss­eff), but she won’t ex­er­cise that func­tion. Te­mer will have the pres­i­dent’s shadow hang­ing over him, pres­sur­ing his gov­ern­ment to achieve fast re­sults,” he said.—AFP

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