In the first two weeks of temporary leadership, leaked recordings have traced the interim government to a coup conspiracy against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and now the country’s interim leader is barred from running for office for nearly a decade.
On Thursday, a regional election court in Sao Paolo issued a guilty verdict against interim Brazilian President Michel Temer on election law violation charges, and declared the politician ineligible to run for political office for eight years as a result of having a “dirty record.”
The court determined that Temer, the subject of several other corruption investigations, spent personal funds on his election campaign in excess of campaign finance limits. The interim leader is now barred from running for the office he currently occupies, underscoring the illegitimacy of his administration.
From the beginning, Temer’s installation into power by means of the impeachment proceedings against Dilma Rousseff was considered by Brazilians to be a coup by corrupt politicians seeking to oust a leader who intended to hold them to justice.
That truth was revealed shortly after Rousseff was suspended from office, when newspaper Folha da Sao Paolo released audio recordings implicating top cabinet officials and allies of the Temer administration plotting the ouster of the democratically-elected leader, in order to avoid criminal charges connected to the “Car Wash” investigation into illegal kickbacks traced to state-owned oil giant Petrobras.
The first series of tapes featured Romero Juca, the country’s planning minister and the head of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), speaking with oil executive Sergio Machado about “putting Michel into power” in order to “stop the bleeding” associated with the investigation.
The influential minister immediately offered his resignation once the recordings were released, but the damage had already been done to Temer’s attempts to cast the impeachment proceedings as anything other than a coup. Notably, Temer, along with the two key actors in the impeachment process – former lower house leader Eduardo Cunha and senate leader Renan Calheiros – all belong to the PMDB party.
One week later, the newspaper released a new round of recordings featuring Temer’s transparency minister, Fabiano Silveira, advising senate leader Renan Calheiros on how to obstruct the Car Wash investigation. Brazil’s transparency minister holds responsibility for all government anti-corruption efforts, illustrating that the interim administration is akin to a fox guarding a hen house.