“IF THEY want, let them bring me down!” So declared Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, in a newspaper interview on May 22nd. He is the second president in the space of a year who is fighting to stay in office in the face of allegations of wrongdoing and dismal poll ratings. His predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached in 2016 on a technical violation of public-accounting law. The allegations against Mr Temer are far graver, but his chances of remaining president may be brighter. Whether he stays or goes, the accusations against him are momentous. The blow to his prestige and influence will delay, and might destroy, vital reforms to Brazil’s economy, which is only beginning to emerge from its worst-ever recession.
Mr Temer’s woes began on May 17th when O Globo, a newspaper, reported that, on a tape recorded by Joesley Batista, a billionaire businessman, he is heard endorsing payment of hush money to a politician jailed for his role in the Petrobras…Continue reading