While an impeachment request filed Nov. 28 against Brazilian President Michel Temer based on accusations of improper influence appears unlikely to gain traction, a plea bargain currently being negotiated in a separate case could lead to the end of his presidency, throwing Brazil into further political chaos.
The opposition Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) has called for Temer's impeachment based on accusations by former Minister of Culture Marcelo Calero, who told federal police that Temer sought his help with a business deal involving another former Cabinet member, Geddel Vieira Lima. Calero said Lima, who resigned from his post as minister of government last week, in conjunction with Temer tried to pressure him to circumvent historic protection rules that were standing in the way of a luxury apartment project in the city of Salvador.
The Socialism and Liberty Party argues that Calero's accusation demonstrates that Temer used his presidential office for the benefit of a private interest, a violation of the constitution. Federal prosecutors, however, have not decided whether to open an investigation into the matter. Even if the accusations were proven, the impeachment request still would face daunting prospects. It would first have to be accepted by the president of the lower house, Rodrigo Maia, a close ally of Temer. Even in the unlikely event that this occurs, Temer enjoys the support of the majority of lawmakers. An impeachment request would have to win approval of two-thirds of the congress to proceed.
A more imminent threat to Temer's term comes from a case currently before Brazil's Superior Electoral Court and concerns whether Temer's 2014 campaign with former President Dilma Rousseff benefited from illegal donations. A plea bargain being negotiated by engineering giant Odebrecht in connection with the Petroleo Brasileiro corruption scandal that brought down Rousseff could also prove fatal to Temer's presidency. The Odebrecht plea deal, which could be finalized next year, reportedly will include evidence of illegal donations to the campaigns of Roussef and Temer as well as those of more than 100 current lawmakers.
Some lawmakers are negotiating an amnesty bill in an effort to shield the members of congress. But as popular pressure increases against the government, Temer and the presidents of both houses of the congress said Nov. 27 that they'd veto any amnesty proposals. As Brazil enters possibly another year of political turmoil, reforms meant to address the country's economic problems may languish.