Brazilian politics is worn out, the political reform intended by the legislators who occupy Congress today is only a disguise to perpetuate the same party system in force.
The political system is deeply corrupt, as was shown in the vote on the prosecution of the investigation against President Temer accused of negotiating a bribe with a meat entrepreneur.
In May, a major local newspaper, O Globo, obtained a recording allegedly revealing the president’s discussions about bribes with the owner of Brazil’s JBS, the biggest meatpacking company in the world.
Batista revealed a tape record into the presidential residence late one evening in March where the president was muttering acknowledgements while the butcher rattled on about all of the people he was paying off and those he was planning to bribe.
Following the publication, Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot formally accused Temer of corruption, filing the charges with the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Brazil’s parliament.
A large number of lawmakers in Congress face charges of corruption or are being formally prosecuted. It is not reasonable to imagine that these same politicians could legislate against their interests.
The low quality of Brazil’s legislators, most of whom are not directly elected by the public but instead are chosen by party leaders thanks to the proportional representation electoral system, is a source of disenchantment for voters.
With a presidential election coming up in October 2018, Brazilians are looking for a way to bring changes to their political system, Paulo Ernani, tax auditor and master in public administration from Columbia University, said.
“Brazilians want changes but they don’t know how to do that. If the political system doesn’t change, how someone new in the political arena could have the support of those political parties? The only solution right now is to accept independent candidates,” Ernani explained.
Leonardo Fernandes, policy analyst to the Contas Abertas watchdog group, also believes that society could “voice its discontent” in the next presidential election.
“There is even a chance of an outsider to run and win,” Fernandes said, adding that the country has probably already reached the lowest point of the current crisis.
In December, the Senate passed a constitutional amendment known as PEC55, which implies freezing government spending on such public sectors as health, education and infrastructure for the next 20 years, attributing the changes in spending to inflation rates. The reform was sharply criticized both by the public, sparking massive protests across the country.
“His austerity policies are fake, since he keeps spending billions on suspicious enterprises and he hasn’t ordered an auditing in the Federal government,” Paulo Ernani said.
Fernandes added that “there is an exhaustion sentiment widespread,” as the crisis has been ongoing for a long time.
“People want to move on and hope that the economy starts to improve, so the unemployment goes down and prices stop increasing due to inflation,” Fernandes explained.
The scandals over corruption cases have been surrounding Brazilian top-level officials for years now, and apart of impeachment of ex-President Rousseff include the recent conviction of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was sentenced to almost ten years in prison in July.
If current political parties are dominated by corruption, perhaps the last chance is to allow independent candidates in the next elections to allow oxygenation of the system. The Brazilian Constitution is ambiguous about this possibility.