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Opinion: Self-Absorbed, Brazilian Politics Produces a Lot of Heat but Little Light

07/14/2016 - 11h48

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ROBERTO DIAS
FROM SÃO PAULO

Within the last 21 days in the British political scenario it has been decided that: 1) The United Kingdom will leave the European Union; 2) The Prime Minister will leave his position; 3) a woman will be the new head of government.

During the same period, the major developments here have been: 1) The President of Congress has resigned in an attempt to save his term as congressman, which he is managing to do, while his allies dedicate themselves to putting a lid on things; 2) the Federal Police are carrying out operations against corruption, while the Supreme Court wants to investigate inflatable dolls; 3) a former President of the Republic says that the current occupant of the chair doesn't know how to govern.

The substitution process in the Congress is a clear example of how, totally self-absorbed, the Brazilian political process produces lots of heat but little real light.

The fall of the President of one Power (the Legislative) is rooted in the bringing down of the president of another Power (the Executive). Both processes - the removal of Eduardo Cunha and the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff - have dominated the national agenda during recent months, a soap-opera that in between endless references to rules and procedures and endless appeals, ought to take several more weeks.

Nothing in this plot will impact the future of the world comparably to what is happening in the United Kingdom.

Once it has finished with the election of its new president, there isn't much substantive left to do for Congress this year. As one of the candidates for the chair reminded us: July is recess, August has the Olympics, and September & October are months with municipal election campaigns.

Over there and here, the parliamentary vocabulary defines the contrast in what is the principal function of a politician. In Brasília, in his final apparition, Cunha warned his allies to beware their throats: "Today it's me. Tomorrow it's you".

In England, David Cameron in his farewell speech on Wednesday (13th) exhorted his colleagues to use politics to construct things. "As I have previously said, once I was the future." Cunha would have difficulty even whispering such a phrase.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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