President Dilma Rousseff's approval ratings have suffered; in a survey conducted in September by the Ibope polling agency, more than two-thirds of respondents called Rousseff’s government “bad” or “terrible.” The massive corruption scandal at state-owned oil company Petrobras -- in which members of Rousseff’s coalition have been implicated -- has contributed to the weakening of her position.
Calls for the president’s resignation or impeachment are growing louder. To those who support impeachment, all the country’s problems would be resolved if Rousseff were to step down. However, those opposed to her impeachment argue that if the president were to be removed from power, an institutional crisis would result.
HuffPost Brazil spoke to politicians of various ideological backgrounds to ask for their views of what the country stands to lose in the event of Rousseff’s impeachment.
Members of the ruling Workers’ Party, known as the PT in Portuguese, have tried their best to dodge the debate to avoid adding fuel to the fire. But the party publicly opposes the president’s impeachment.
PT co-founder Chico Vigilante, a friend of Rousseff, echoed the remarks of the president’s other allies:
"The country would lose in all areas. Impeachment would create financial, political, economic and social turmoil. Elections are held every four years, and the winner gets to rule the country. Those who are not satisfied with the results cannot weaken the country and leave Brazilians in a state of disarray ... Supporting impeachment means diverting public attention away from Operation Car Wash [the name given to the federal investigation into the Petrobras corruption scandal].”
HuffPost Brazil spoke to another member of the PT who did not wish to be identified, but stated that in the event of Rousseff's impeachment, the opposition would come out on the losing side. Dilma's successor would inherit a fragmented country in a fragile state, and would have to implement unpopular reforms to get the country back on track, the lawmaker said.
Despite displaying enthusiasm for the president’s impeachment, the opposition is not completely aligned in its vision for Brazil’s future. One of the key leaders of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, Senator Álvaro Dias, supports Rousseff’s impeachment but cannot venture a guess about the future.
"The opposition has the duty to echo the national pro-impeachment sentiment. That is the role of the opposition. It is obvious that the day after would be challenging. We cannot assess the consequences. If impeachment does happen, the vice president takes office. But he is part of the government. It is not clear if this solution would be of benefit to the country. Only time will tell."
Members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB -- Vice President Michel Temer’s party -- who flirt with the opposition, however, strongly believe that it would be unequivocally better for the country’s future if Rousseff left office.
Even the most ardent supporters of Rousseff’s impeachment admit that the scenario will lead to a period of chaos, but they maintain that it would only be temporary.
Congressman Darcísio Perondi is among those in the PMDB concerned about the aftermath of the potential impeachment:
"Brazil is already experiencing one of its deepest political, moral, ethical and fiscal crises. The president has committed the crime of improper conduct during her first and second terms. She placed Brazil in a historic fiscal hole, making investors, companies and consumers distrust the current climate. The country needs a new leader to unify Brazil. The immediate result would be a worsening of the political crisis, but that would be temporary."
This article first appeared on HuffPost Brazil and was translated into English. Sara Elkamel contributed to this report.