Because most Brazilians anticipate that Rousseff will not return to power and that interim leader Michel Temer will finish the current presidential term due to end in late 2018, the political theatre in the Brazilian Congress surrounding the accusations against the suspended president — which dominated news for most of 2016 — has been replaced by the more upbeat sports arenas where the Olympic Games are taking place. Though the final Senate vote against Dilma will likely occur before the end of the month (the Senate is expected to announce the date this week) and the investigations of the “Lava Jato” (“Car Wash”) corruption scandal continue to implicate important politicians — now including ministers in Temer’s Cabinet — Brazilians seem determined to take a break from the political scandals and focus, at least for the next two weeks, on sporting events.
From a political standpoint, 2016 has been a year to forget for Brazil. The impeachment process against Rousseff has been the most important political scandal, but the breadth of the Lava Jato investigations has reached proportions that nobody anticipated when the probe first began under Judge Sérgio Moro in early 2014. In addition to Rousseff, the leaders of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies have had to resign from their posts. Several prominent politicians have been implicated, including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2002-2010) and dozens of other lawmakers. Most Brazilians believe that many other politicians are involved too. The perception that the political class has used its position to pocket money and favour political allies is widespread.
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