Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer, who will take over the country’s top office if Dilma Rousseff is suspended, said on Tuesday he will remain “silent” as he awaits the Senate’s decision on whether to move the impeachment process forward, deciding not only Rousseff’s political future but also Temer’s.
But the vice president, who faces corruption charges and requests for his possible impeachment, is rejected by Brazilians from both sides of the political spectrum, underlining the fact that impeaching Rousseff will be far from a magic bullet for political stability.
According to a poll by Datafolha, conducted at pro-democracy and anti-government demonstrations on Sunday as the lower house voted on impeachment, both camps reported high disapproval of Temer.
At the pro-impeachment rallies on Sao Paulo’s Paulista Avenue, 54 percent of respondents said they are in favor of Temer’s impeachment and over two thirds of people, 68 percent, said they expect Temer’s rule to be very poor, poor or just fair.
A survey of pro-democracy rallies against the impeachment process at downtown Sao Paulo’s Anhangabau Valley found even higher distrust of Temer. According to Datafolha, 79 percent of protesters want to see Temer impeached and 88 percent believe his government would perform poorly or very poorly.
The latest numbers confirm the findings of another recent Datafolha poll that found support for Temer’s impeachment was almost on par with support for Rousseff’s ahead of the vote in the lower house. The survey showed that 58 percent of Brazilians wanted Temer to be removed from his post, compared to 61 percent supporting Rousseff’s impeachment.
Temer’s alliance with Rousseff started to crumble last year amid the growing divide over the impeachment effort. The relationship ultimately broke down with his PMDB party’s decision to formally end the coalition with Rousseff’s PT last month. The move helped to lock in votes that the president's political rivals needed to push the impeachment process through the lower house.
Meanwhile, the leader of the impeachment attempt, lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, faced even higher disapproval with 77 percent of people believing he should be impeached and 73 percent saying he should resign.
Both Cunha and Temer are embroiled in the Petrobras state oil corruption scandal and are accused of receiving millions of dollars in bribes.
As the impeachment process proceeds, it increasingly becomes clear that the opposition’s claimed anti-corruption campaign justifying the impeachment attempt is not only hypocritical, but little more than a pretext for a conservative revival that hasn’t been possible at the polls.