Michel Temer. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Michel Temer. Picture: BLOOMBERG

Brazil may be about to lose its second president in as many years to charges of corruption.

Last year, the left-leaning Dilma Rousseff was impeached and booted out of presidential office. Now her successor, the right-leaning Michel Temer, has been charged by the country’s top prosecutor with accepting multimillion-dollar bribes.

The parallels with a certain other Brics country are eerie.

This, from a Reuters story: "Investigators have uncovered stunning levels of corruption in recent years engulfing Brazil’s political class and business elites. Much of it centres on companies paying billions of dollars in bribes to politicians and executives at state-run enterprises in return for lucrative contracts."

Temer apparently took the equivalent of R160m in bribes from the world’s largest meat-packing company, JBS SA.

His fatal mistake appears to be a discussion with one Joesley Batista, in which he condoned the bribing of a potential witness. Batista recorded the conversation and then exposed Temer — and the fact that he wanted millions of dollars in illegal donations for his political party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party.

Brazil’s congress will now vote on whether or not Temer must go on trial. With his popularity rating in single figures, it is unlikely his party will hold out for long.

Reuters quotes political scientist Carlos Melo as saying the prosecution is playing a sophisticated game of chess, always "thinking two or three votes down the line".

If the sinking president’s party does rally around him, Melo says, "then we must face the horrific fact that what we have is a political system entirely detached from society, and it will pay the price in next year’s election".

Apparently Temer has not followed the corrupt president playbook. You have to pull the teeth of the prosecution service before you capture the state for your private enrichment, silly!

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