The hearing of expert witnesses who testified before the Senate Special Committee on Impeachment against the case to impeach President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday (May 3) has not changed the existing balance of the senators' stances on the ouster.
Senator Waldemir Moka, for example, said he was convinced that the president is guilty of impeachable offenses “despite the considerable legal knowledge [shown by the expert witnesses at the hearing]. This is my personal understanding, and I am positive about that. I am definitely not going to change my position,” he said.
Pro-government senators have also reaffirmed their stances against impeachment. Senator Lindbergh Farias defended Rousseff by saying that her opponents treat primary surplus as a deity. “What is really behind this is a mistaken view. We think government budgeting should be focused on social justice, income distribution, and tackling unemployment,” he said.
According to former Brazilian Bar Association head Marcello Lavenère, another expert witness heard by the impeachment committee, there has been a “temptation” in Brazilian politics to relax the principles of the democratic rule of law, and such a relaxation, he said, would be the end of the “civilizing process. There are no solutions outside of the Constitution and the strictest compliance with constitutional guarantees and procedure.”
According to Lavenère, “trying to solve an economic, political, and governmental crisis, and a very serious one, through methods that violate constitutional guarantees could never end up well. It's quite the contrary. Impeachment is not going to solve this crisis.”
Another expert witness, Law Professor Ricardo Lodi Ribeiro from Rio de Janeiro, argued that the Court of Audits was accepting of accounting maneuvers known as “fiscal backpedaling” in its rulings at the time Rousseff used them, and therefore, any changes to that stance should not apply to past occurrences of these maneuvers and be invoked to punish Rousseff. Moreover, he said, the government's delay in transferring funds to state banks for the payment of welfare benefits has not adversely affected them.
Also heard by the committee was Professor Geraldo Prado, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He noted that the head of the National Council of Justice (CNJ), Ricardo Lewandowski—who is also the chief Supreme Court justice—authorized the government's decrees for additional budget appropriations after Rousseff had already submitted the bill revising the fiscal target to Congress.
“If we were to find [Rousseff guilty of] impeachable offenses on the grounds of a fiscal accountability violation based on these facts, that verdict would have to apply not only to the President of the Republic, but also to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Yet the case remains that no such verdict applies, because no such impeachable offense has occurred. The chief Supreme Court justice's authorization was accurate and based on expert opinion,” Prado argued.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.