With 263 votes in favor and 227 against, in the evening of 2 August 2017, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies decided to arquivate the complaint of passive corruption against the President of the Republic, Michel Temer.
In other words, the complaint will not be analyzed by the Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF), at least until Temer is in charge.
Who are the winners of this decision?
Of course, President Temer, who with his experience of skilled political interlocutor, has been able to blend the consensus of the majority of deputies around him. The fact that the support of many deputies has been literally bought through the approval of expensive parliamentary amendments and that many of these deputies (for exactly 42%) are in turn investigated for corruption-related offenses is a “detail” that will be the History (deliberately with H) to evaluate.
Another big winner is the so-called “Centrão“, the set of small center parties (DEM, PSD, PP, PR, PTB, PRB, PSC and others), which consists of 260/270 deputies united by only one, so to speak, “philosophy”: no ideology and arch-defense of corporate interests, from agriculture to religion to those of tax evaders. A group that, regardless of who wins the election, is willing to support the government in exchange for positions, direction of public companies and institutions, laws that favor their electoral colleges and the lobbies that support them.
Who are the losers?
First of all, the first loser is Brazil and its citizens. On a moral level, because he saw a shameful spectacle in his eyes, in which the great desire for impunity of an entire political class was celebrated. On the economic level, in order to collect the necessary votes, the government approved amendments that will have to be funded with new taxes, such as the recent new tax on fuels. But perhaps the highest burden will be the consequences of the general indifference in which this important vote has taken place: for the political class it is a sign of impunity which can greatly affect the decision on candidatures and alliances In the upcoming presidential elections.
Whoever runs out of this vote is the PSDB, which since the JBS’s scandal has not been able to impose a clear position, neither against nor in favor of Temer. No matter when determining the outcome of the vote, split between those who want to support the government and those who want to get out, PSDB will certainly pay a very high political price in view of the 2018 presidential election.
For Rodrigo Janot, the Prosecutor General of the Republic (PGR), who has promoted the complaint against Temer, is a political defeat but certainly not moral and legal. Janot will present a new complaint against Temer in the coming weeks to obstruct justice and will continue the right path of justice, which is to investigate alleged crimes, whoever the author is.
Filed the complaint, the government has gained political power to pursue the pension reform but is increasingly hostage to Centrão. Given the need to defend many interests (except perhaps those of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens), reform could turn into a “mini-reform” and leave the fundamental nodes that hinder the sustainability of the Brazilian social security system unresolved.
It’s already talking about the next step, that of tax reform, fundamental to modernizing the Brazilian tax system, today one of the most intricate, inefficient and burdensome in the world. But it is hoped that it will leave this burden on the next government, which – if the Brazilian people want it – will be politically and morally more legitimate to do so.
What is almost certain is that Temer will succeed in “ferrying” Brazil until the upcoming presidential elections of October 2018. The financial markets can be breathed up, at least until the next scandal.