Brazil’s capital city, Brasília, remains plunged in a state of tension and uncertainty. Nobody can tell for sure how the political crisis will unfold. Our political leaders have proven to be unable to solve the institution quagmire that has haunted the country. And Operation Car Wash could always bring more heat to an already explosive scenario.
Michel Temer will not resign. The leader of a moribund administration hopes for a miracle to stay in office. But his situation is only getting worse. And while Temer wants to discredit businessman Joesley Batista – who secretly taped a conversation with the President -, he can’t erase the content of their dialogue.
The President no longer governs. Instead, he only takes care of defending himself, hosting dinners to draw political support – which is waning down. In the economy, the possible reversal of expectations for Brazil is worrisome.
Temer’s succession is already being openly discussed. Pundits speculate; party leaders negotiate; desperate businesspeople follow how the action unfolds. Who’s the best name if we have new elections? The urgency to answer that question often leads to mistakes. Instead of discussing who should get the nod, we should be trying to establish the criteria for a possible election.
The causes of the crisis
Michel Temer is not the only problem. As former President Dilma Rousseff wasn’t, either. As we say in Brazil – it’s not enough to change the flies if we keep the manure. Pulling Temer and not fixing the system won’t change a thing.
Our coalition-based presidential system has collapsed. The traditional ways of doing politics were destroyed by decades of corruption and mismanagement. Corporatism tampers with our institutions. And a terrible lack of leadership highlights our lack of renewal in politics.
The economic crisis is a result of a political deadlock. Naming someone focused on passing austerity reforms no matter what – like incumbent Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles – would not resolve the political issues. It would be as effective as throwing a bucket of water on a burning building.
The criteria for new elections
Some things should be obvious, the utmost respect for the Constitution and the commitment of not trying to tamper with Operation Car Wash. The major corruption investigation can become a step towards truly separating public and private business in Brazil.
At the same time, it is necessary to keep the incumbent economic team in place. Brazil doesn’t need more instability. We don’t want to look even more like a “Banana Republic.”
Candidates should be honest with the public. The government is broken, there are no short-term solutions to the problem. Leaders should explain the situation to the population, inviting the Brazilian people to the public debate – something Temer never did.
Moreover, we should not focus on the problems of those future candidates, but rather on their upside. The reasoning should be: despite this person’s flaws, can he/she bring some unity to the country?
Will Brazil get to 2018 one piece?