The street demonstrations show that democracy is established in Brazil, regardless of the political views they reflect, says political scientist Maria do Socorro Sousa Braga, a professor at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) with a doctor's degree in Political Science from the University of São Paulo (USP). “A wider expression of varying claims and views is part of how democracy works. This right [freedom of expression] must be respected.”
For the scholar, the demonstrations against the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday (Mar. 31) in several Brazilian cities shows “a willingness to continue with the current administration and that people do not agree with this absurd way of removing a government that has been democratically elected by ballot when there is no evidence of corruption or other wrongdoing against the president,” she said.
The date chosen for the demonstrations also plays an important role, according to the political scientist. On March 31, 1964, military forces seized power in Brazil through a coup d'état. Although the context is different today, she said choosing that date is a way to symbolically convey the message that the population does not agree with a “replay of a coup against democratic institutions.”
Anti-impeachment protests have grown, especially because of the critical point Brazilian politics has reached, according to Braga. Given the impeachment proceedings going on at the Chamber of Deputies and the recent splits with political allies, she said the demonstrations are strategic. “The more people take to the streets, the stronger the figure of the president becomes, so this is all very meaningful for her. And it also comes as an encouragement for those in government to stay in government.”
Regardless of the outcome of the political developments, the professor believes there is no going back in transparency when it comes to Operation Car Wash or other such corruption crackdowns. Internet access empowers the population with further tools as people become increasingly dissatisfied with corruption and other wrongdoing.
Influence on elections
According to David Fleischer, a political scientist and professor in the University of Brasília (UnB), the political scenario is at the center of the street demonstrations, and the rallies yesterday were smaller and less widespread than those calling for impeachment on March 13. Fleischer, who holds a postdoctoral degree from the State University of New York, says that deputies in Congress are likely paying close attention to the street demonstrations.
“Those who advocate impeachment are concerned about their chances of being re-elected. What politicians are thinking about is how their position will affect their election in 2018. There are mayors in the Workers' Party that have switched parties to run for elections. What a deputy values the most is their chances of re-election—high or low.”
*With additional reporting by Heloisa Cristaldo.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.