Por: Alberto Silva

Business Leaders Want Rousseff’s Removal, but not Impeachment Led by Lower House Speaker Cunha

Brazilian business leaders are in favor of the removal of President Rousseff, but at the same time they are reluctant to support an impeachment they fear may be seen as blackmail by Eduardo Cunha (PMDB - Rio de Janeiro), the speaker of the lower house of Congress.

While some of them would prefer to see Vice-President Michel Temer take over, almost all of them think this possibility is currently unlikely. They also recognize that the ongoing Lava Jato investigations have the potential to turn the situation on its head at a moment’s notice.

Folha spoke to 15 owners of large companies and leaders in industry, agriculture, commerce and the financial sector. Most of them spoke on condition of anonymity.

There is a consensus that even if Rousseff survives the impeachment process, she will be greatly weakened and will not be able to obtain the support in Congress necessary for the approval of measures to resolve the current crisis, such as fiscal readjustment.

If this happens, the business leaders believe that Brazil will be in for another three years of economic decline, with inflation, unemployment, losses and increasing poverty.

“I am pessimistic about this cycle [the Rousseff administration],” says Flávio Rocha, president of Riachuelo, one of Brazil’s largest retailers. “It has become exhausted.”

While the business leaders feel that management of the economy has been incompetent during the Rousseff administration, they argue that the situation has been exacerbated by the opposition, including part of the PMDB, which has adopted a strategy in Congress of “the worse things get, the better”, in order to destabilize the President.

This political impasse has hampered the approval of measures to get the economy going again. This year it is likely to shrink by 3.5%, with the loss of 1.6 million jobs.



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