On April 19, six members of the Brazilian Senate proposed a constitutional amendment to deny Vice President Michel Temer the presidency should President Dilma Rousseff be impeached in her likely upcoming Senate hearing, and instead called for new elections in October to fill her post. The move stems from Temer’s widespread lack of popularity and legitimacy, and from the possibility that he himself may be impeached for the same charges that Ms. Rousseff currently faces. The newly-elected President and Vice President would serve out the last two years of Rousseff’s current term, until the end of 2018.
The senators supporting the amendment belong to a variety of parties, most notably the Workers Party (PT) and the newly-founded Rede party. Both parties have something to gain from new elections, as recent polls show ex-President Lula da Silva, the long-time leader of the PT, as the favorite to win against several PSDB opposition candidates in 2018, while Marina Silva, founder of Rede, trails as a close second. Mr. Temer, by contrast, wouldreceive a mere 2% of the vote, and his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) opposes the move accordingly.
Any proposal for new elections, however, would take time and political capital to pass: a successful amendment must be proposed by a third of the members of Chamber of Deputies, achieve unanimous approval by a special Chamber committee and, finally, pass through the general bodies of both the
Chamber and Senate. The recent impeachment vote against Ms. Rousseff in the Chamber of Deputies took away much of her and her party’s political capital, leaving many doubtful that the PT could rally the necessary support. Additionally, many members of the PT itself are withholding support for the movement until Ms. Rousseff’s impeachment is finalized, continuing their fight against her alleged ‘coup’ until the very end.