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Daily Brief: Brazil's Rousseff Suspended From Office

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May 12, 2016

Daily News Brief

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TOP OF THE AGENDA

Brazil's Rousseff Suspended From Office

Brazil's senate voted with a wide majority to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial for impeachment charges. The move suspends Rousseff from office during the duration of the trial (WaPo). Rousseff's onetime ally Vice President Michel Temer will assume her office during the proceedings, which could last up to 180 days, and finish out her term if she is found guilty (NYT). The fifty-five votes in the senate supporting putting her on trial already exceed the two-thirds majority needed to permanently remove her from office once the trial concludes. Rousseff has been assailed by a severe economic downturn and ongoing corruption investigation into the state oil company, though she is not being accused of corruption. The impeachment charges instead relate to accusations of budget mismanagement to cover up shortfalls. Thursday’s vote ends thirteen years of leftist rule by the Workers' Party (Reuters).

ANALYSIS

"[Temer] is a quintessential Brasilia insider, but was little known to the general public until it became clear a few months ago that he was openly strategizing to replace Ms. Rousseff. His choice for the key post of finance minister is Henrique Meirelles, an economist and politician who served as a popular central bank president from 2003-11. Like him, everyone else on the rumoured cabinet list is male, and white, in a country that is 53-per-cent black and mixed race. Many come from the powerful agribusiness and rural landowner bloc in Congress, and are associated with a dramatically different legislative agenda than that of Ms. Rousseff’s party," writes Stephanie Nolen for the Globe and Mail.

"Rousseff’s accusations of coup-mongering can seem abstract to the average Brazilian facing a spike in inflation and unemployment. In this largely low-income country, half the population is younger than 30, and most of the rest stayed on the sidelines of the ideological battles of the last century. Within the Workers’ Party, though, her removal is seen as a coup in part because it involves some of the same players that rallied for the removal of President João Goulart in 1964. The most prominent among them is Globo, now Brazil’s largest media conglomerate, which celebrated the military takeover in a front-page newspaper editorial and enthusiastically promoted the regime on its TV network," writes Alex Cuadros for the Washington Post.

"But measures to stabilize the economy with or without Rousseff will still be difficult to implement and certainly won’t produce immediate results. A Temer-led government will have to contend with long-standing structural weaknesses. Growth could remain elusive, as significant budgetary tightening is required. Because more than 85 percent of federal spending is constitutionally guaranteed, the necessary changes will require amendments passed by Congress," writes Maria Elena Candia for Foreign Policy.

PACIFIC RIM

Shandong Protests Against Proposed Petrochemical Plant

Hundreds of people marched (SCMP) in the coastal city of Longkou in China's Shandong province against a proposal to build a petrochemical plant on nearby manmade islands, citing pollution concerns. The Longkou government called off its preliminary studies to construct a facility on the islands (RFA).

JAPAN: A new report (Guardian) alleges that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Committee made a "seven-figure payment" to an account connected to the son of former chief of the International Association of Athletics Foundations Lamine Diack. The report said the charge is believed to be included in a French investigation into corruption in international sport (BBC).

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Casa-1000 Power Project Inaugurated in Dushanbe

Officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan attended the opening ceremony for a $1.17 billion project to construct a 760-mile transmission line to carry hydropower energy from the former Soviet republics into Afghanistan and Pakistan (RFE/RL). The project is scheduled to be finished by 2018 with financing from the United States, the United Kingdom, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank.

INDIA: India's top court criticized authorities for an "ostrich-like" attitude toward the country's worst drought in decades, which is affecting 330 million people across thirteen of India's twenty-nine states (Reuters). The court ordered Delhi authorities to set up a disaster mitigation fund within three months.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Islamic State Claims New Bombings Near Baghdad

Two suicide bombings claimed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State outside Baghdad on Thursday killed two police officers (Reuters). The attacks follow three bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday, including a mass morning attack on a Sadr City market, which reached a death toll of at least ninety people in one day (NYT).

IRAN: Iranian authorities failed to broker an agreement to allow the country’s pilgrims to apply for visas to attend the hajj in Saudi Arabia (AFP) after Saudi-Iranian diplomatic ties were cut in January. Saudi missions in Iran were closed after being ransacked by protestors following Riyadh’s execution of a Shia cleric.  

Vali R. Nasr discusses the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia in this CFR conference call. 

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria Raises Fuel Prices 67 percent

The Nigerian government announced a 67 percent rise in fuel prices as the country grapples with the global fall in oil prices and a severe shortage of dollars (Reuters). Due to attacks on oil installations, Nigeria has fallen behind Angola as Africa's top oil producer (Quartz).

CFR's John Campbell writes about the attacks on Nigeria's oil infrastructure in this blog post.

UGANDA: Opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye was arrested on Wednesday (VOA) after a crowd of supporters came to see him during an appearance in Kampala. President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in office since 1986, won reelection in February and is due to be sworn in on Thursday for a new term. 

EUROPE

European Parliament Halts Turkey Visa Liberalization

A chief negotiator from the European Parliament said he had "halted" the process (Hurriyet) to grant Turkey visa-free travel inside the European Union’s Schengen zone, saying that Turkey has five unfulfilled benchmarks to reach. Visa-free travel for Turks was a concession central to a March refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union.

Silvia Colombo discusses the main points of the EU-Turkish refugee deal in this article for CFR’s Council of Councils initiative.

ROMANIA: The United States and NATO announced that a missile interceptor system in Deveselu was ready for operations (Stars and Stripes). The United States says the system is meant to protect the area from incoming missiles from the Middle East and Asia, but the move is seen as a threat by Russia (BBC)

AMERICAS

Tear Gas Used on Opposition Leader in Caracas Protests

Venezuela opposition leader Henrique Capriles faced tear gas from police Wednesday as he and a small group of demonstrators tried to march to the National Election Council in Caracas to pressure the body to move forward with a national referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro (LAHT).

CAMPAIGN 2016

Poll: Trump’s Supporters Differ from Republicans on Trade, Immigration

Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s supporters overwhelmingly favor a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a Pew Research Center poll, with 84 percent in support compared with 56 percent of Republican voters who favored other candidates, Trump’s supporters also were more likely to see free trade negatively compared with other Republicans.

Track and compare candidates positions on immigration, trade and other foreign policy issues CFR’s interactive, The Candidates and the World.

 
 
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