Brazilian electoral court rules against striping Michael Temer off his presidency

Candice Alexander
June 12, 2017

The standoff between Temer and his accusers took another remarkable twist when Veja, a weekly magazine known for sensational political scoops, claimed that the president was using the national spy agency to snoop on the Supreme Court justice in charge of "Car Wash" cases.

Five of the seven judges on Brazil's Superior Electoral Tribunal, or TSE, have voted, with three voting to leave Mr. Temer in office and two voting to annul the result of the election.

The court voted 4-3 to acquit the Rousseff-Temer ticket, avoiding the removal of Temer, who has been besieged by economic recession and corruption scandals since replacing Rousseff previous year.

If Brazil's attorney general decides there is evidence that Temer committed a crime, he can request that the lower house authorize the Supreme Court to put the president on trial.

Mr. Temer was re-elected Brazil's vice president in 2014, and became president a year ago when his running mate Dilma Rousseff was removed from office following an impeachment process unrelated to the case before the electoral court.

Temer himself is now under investigation for bribe taking and obstruction of justice related to the array of interlocking "Car Wash" corruption scandals.

The campaign-finance case was filed by one of the losing parties shortly after the 2014 presidential election.

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The court decision showed democracy is working in Brazil and the President will continue to work with Congress to achieve economic growth, said Alexandre Parola, a presidential spokesman, shortly after the court ruling.

Last month, a recording emerged that apparently captured Temer endorsing hush money to ex-House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, a former Temer ally serving 15 years in prison for corruption and money laundering. The accusations revolved around Dilma Rousseff's successful presidential bid in 2014, in which Temer was her running mate, and alleged illegal donations that supposedly invalidated the win.

The revelations came just hours after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal cleared Temer's 2014 campaign of charges that it received illegal financing.

Temer has already survived a series of scandals and vows to remain despite the new allegations. Legal experts accused Temer's team of stall tactics.

"Electoral justice can't be used as a third round of elections without violating the electoral order", said Maia, adding that a lack of moderation would "risk annihilating the sovereign will of the people".

"Temer will argue, 'I'm the guy who is going to give the country the bitter remedy that will cure it", said Carlos Manhanelli, political marketing specialist and chairman of the Brazilian Association of Political Consultants.

Other reports by VgToday

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