Crucial election hearing opens in Brazil

Brazil President Michel Temer

Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court has resumed its deliberations on a case which could topple the country’s President, Michel Temer.

The court, tasked with overseeing the electoral process, is looking at whether the 2014 elections were won using illegal campaign donations.

These were the elections that Dilma Rousseff won, with Mr Temer as her running mate.

Ms Rousseff has since been impeached and replaced by Mr Temer.

She was accused of illegally moving funds between government budgets.

As a result, Mr Temer took over as Brazil’s president in August 2016.

However, this case – which was paused in April – could render the entire result from 2014 invalid, meaning he too could be removed from office.

Uncertain path

But if Mr Temer is pushed out of office, there will be the added complication of who replaces him and how.

According to the Brazilian constitution, if there are fewer than two years left in a term, Congress will choose a caretaker president to govern until the 2018 elections.

But nobody really knows the rules of this kind of election because it has never happened before.

People here are fed up. They say they did not elect Mr Temer in the 2014 election.

They want direct elections so they can choose a new leader rather than have it chosen by a Congress that is seen as part of the problem.

Brazil’s politics have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Brazil is now in uncharted territory, experts say.

 

Zainab Sa’id