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News > Latin America

Brazil’s Right-Wing Opposition Leader Emboldened by Protests

  • Demonstrators attend a protest against Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, part of nationwide protests calling for her impeachment, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 13, 2016.

    Demonstrators attend a protest against Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, part of nationwide protests calling for her impeachment, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 13, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 March 2016

The Rousseff government in Brazil is under immense pressure after large rallies throughout the country called for her ouster.

Days after both pro- and anti-government rallies took place across Brazil, senator and a prominent opposition figure Aecio Neves claimed that mass protests over the weekend calling for the ouster of government of President Dilma Rousseff are the clearest indications yet that her government is “finished.”

Neves, who lost to Rousseff in the last presidential election, spoke to Folha de Sao Paulo in an interview published Tuesday.

“The government is finished. Is impeachment a possibility? Yes. Maybe the one that seems to be the strongest and it cannot be discarded because it would ease the mood and would at least allow a restart. Nevertheless, we know it won't be easy because it lacks the legitimacy of a vote,” said Neves, who serves as the president of the right-wing PSDB.

The right-wing opposition in Brazil, like that in Venezuela, is now analyzing what means it has at its disposal to oust the government.

Rousseff is facing two challenges to her rule. The first is impeachment proceedings inside the Congress, a process that has been stalled over the intransigence of the head of the lower chamber, Eduardo Cunha, who is facing his own challenge to his authority.

The president's second challenge comes from Brazil's electoral authority, which is considering whether or not her campaign violated regulation during the last presidential contest. The electoral authority could conceivably rule her 2014 election as illegitimate.

RELATED: Brazilian Protesters Want Military Intervention to Oust Dilma

It has been a difficult month for the ruling Workers Party. Rousseff's predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was first briefly detained in order to brought in for questioning and then charged with money laundering. Prosecutors have further requested he be preventatively jailed.

Supporters of the Workers Party, known as the PT, allege that prosecutors are selectively conducting the investigation and prosecuting leading figures in the PT in order to smear the party of the government.

Furthermore, the PT's coalition party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, known as the PMDB is considering breaking with the government.

A congress held by the PMDB last Saturday said the party will make its determination within 30 days. Rousseff's vice-president, Michel Temer, is a member of the PMDB and would serve the remainder of Rousseff’s term should she be ousted from power.

In his interview, Neves openly talked about a “post-Dilma” Brazil and of the need for his party and the PMDB to negotiate.

Last week, President Dilma Rousseff rejected calls for her resignation amid the political storm, blaming her opponents for causing a crisis that has damaged the Brazilian economy.

"No one has the right to ask for the resignation of a legitimately elected president," Rousseff told reporters, indicating she has no intention of quitting.

Senator Neves himself is a controversial figure, despite his support for the ouster of the president, he was ejected from a demonstration Sunday by the protesters themselves.

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