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An unhappy end for the PT government

Friday 29 April 2016, by João Machado

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The approval of the opening of the impeachment process of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff by the Chamber of Deputies with a significant majority is a big defeat for the government and the PT.

Almost all the parties of the right who were in the government, and most especially the PMDB, the party of the vice-president, have broken with the government in these past weeks. Only the parties most to the left who supported the government voted against the impeachment process, as well as a few members on the right who did not follow the leadership of their party and the PSOL, the left opposition party in the government.

A significant part of the bourgeoisie supported the governments of the PT when they were going in the direction of class collaboration. However, with the economic crisis which began to intensify in 2014, the bourgeoisie required a tougher government to apply a policy of austerity which has led to the degradation of popular living conditions.

Dilma Rousseff has tried to fulfil this role: she made a significant shift to the right after the elections of 2014. But it was clear that the PT, through the links that it still maintains with the majority of the trade union and popular movement, has difficulties in carrying out this policy. Temer, the vice-president, a bourgeois politician, went even further in the implementation of an anti-popular policy. Nonetheless, the FIESP (Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paulo) and other federations of business leaders have assumed a leading role in the procedure for impeachment.

Cornered, Dilma Rousseff and the PT have tried to get out of this situation in a shabby way: attempting until the end to offer benefits to bourgeois politicians. They have failed to convince their opponents, who were more interested in the possibility of a Temer government. Many members of the House have justified their support for the procedure for removal by evoking the great unpopularity of Dilma Rousseff’s government and the cases of corruption linked to the PT. This has no meaning: according to the polls, Temer and the PMDB are as unpopular as Dilma Rousseff and are involved even more directly in the cases of corruption that have been revealed. Nearly 60% of the population is favourable to resignation or to the procedure for the removal of the two parties in power.

An illegitimate process

The PSOL, the Party of the Socialist Left, has taken a position against the procedure because the process has no legitimacy, it is a complete farce. The President of the House, a member of the PMDB, the main protagonist in the procedure of impeachment, is notoriously corrupt, indicted in the same investigation which has concerned members of the PT. The legal arguments to dismiss Dilma Rousseff also apply to Temer. In these conditions, the procedure for removal is a coup. In addition, a government led by Temer will be at least as unpopular as the government of Dilma Rousseff and will further worsen the conditions of life of the population.

Sectors of the extreme fascist right also clearly participate in the movement for impeachment proceedings. They will not be present in the future government but will have an influence and will emerge strengthened. Finally, the progress of the right has led to a large popular mobilisation against the procedure, including sectors of the left opposed to the government of Dilma Rousseff

The latter is still President for a few weeks, until the Senate confirms the opening of the procedure for impeachment (which is certain). But it is obvious that she no longer governs. The governance of the PT ends in a melancholy way. But this does not imply the end of the process: economic and political crises persist and will tend to deepen.