impeaching the President of Brazil

The traumatic nine-month impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff is now entering its final phase. For nearly a year, Brazil has lacked strong political leadership while the country goes through its deepest recession on record. The needed change of leadership would proceed much faster if the head of government were Prime Minister rather than President.

“I am fanatically parliamentarian” said Brazil’s foreign minister José Serra, in a recent interview with the FT. “Because in parliamentarianism, changing the government is a solution, while in presidentialism, it is a trauma.”

Joe Leahy, “Angry impeachment scenes spur calls for changes to Brazil’s political system“, Financial Times (metered paywall), 29 August 2016.

I agree with Mr Serra. It is extremely difficult to impeach a President. In contrast, it is easy to get rid of an unpopular Prime Minister. The Prime Minister may be forced, by members of his (or her) own party, to step down as leader of the party in power (thus, also, as Prime Minister). Impeachment is not necessary. The disgraced Prime Minister continues to serve, but as a lowly backbench-er, without a cabinet position. Alternatively, a general election might be called if the Prime Minister fails to win a vote of confidence from the entire house of parliament.

José Serra (born 1942) has a PhD in economics from Cornell University (United States) and a long political career with the Social Democracy Party. In 2002 he ran for President and lost to the leftist PT founder Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the 2nd round of voting.

Source: Wikipedia.

 

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