10 June 2017
Brazil’s top electoral court on Friday dismissed a corruption case that threatened to unseat President Michel Temer for alleged illegal campaign funding in the 2014 election, when he was the running mate of impeached President Dilma Rousseff.
After four days of deliberations, judges voted four to three in a case that many viewed as a measure of whether Temer could remain in office amid a growing corruption scandal and single-digit popularity.
“We cannot be changing the president of the Republic all the time, even if the people want to,” said the court’s chief judge, Gilmar Mendes.
Mendes, who backed the impeachment of Rousseff, said the country should not expect the court to solve the current political crisis.
The acquittal will help Temer retain key coalition allies who will support his fiscal reform agenda approval in Congress. The austerity measures aim to bring a gaping budget deficit under control and restore investor confidence.
Temer has denied wrongdoing and vowed to stay in office.
Last month, a recording emerged that apparently captured Temer endorsing hush money to ex-house speaker Eduardo Cunha, a former Temer ally serving 15 years in prison for corruption and money laundering. Soon after that, another bombshell came out: that Temer was being investigated for allegedly receiving bribes.
“The facts are very serious, unbearable,” said Judge Luiz Fux, who voted to remove Temer, adding the campaign finance case was about “very serious crimes.”