Brazil Electoral Court Begins Voting on Temer Election in Campaign-Financing Trial


On Thursday, Brazil's seven-member Supreme Electoral Court, TSE, signaled their vote to acquit Rousseff and Temer's election victory.

Temer has already survived a series of scandals and vows to remain despite the new allegations.

That spared recession-ravaged Brazil being plunged into its second leadership crisis in 14 months, following the impeachment of leftist president Dilma Rousseff a year ago and her replacement by her then-vice president Temer.

"We can not be changing the president of the Republic all the time, even if the people want to", said the court's chief judge, Gilmar Mendes.

"This is enough to invalidate the mandate", he said at the session broadcast live on TV.

Temer himself still faces another potential corruption case that is likely to loom over his presidency in the next months.

Superior Electoral Court minister Gilmar Mendes said Rousseff and Temer's accounts were approved for review, but not for summary of conviction and added it was not the court's responsibility to "solve the political crisis" of the country. The Superior Electoral Tribunal is now reviewing allegations that their 2014 campaign received illegal funding, and could annul their victory.

The trial was the first of its kind in Brazil. Soon after, details of another bombshell emerged: that Temer was being investigated for taking bribes.

The revelations came just hours after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal cleared Temer's 2014 campaign of charges that it received illegal financing.

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"It is inadmissable to commit a very serious crime against the Federal Supreme Court, against democracy and against liberty", said the statement signed by Chief Justice Carmen Lucia.

In a decisive move, that same majority had ruled on Thursday to not allow as evidence in the case plea-bargain testimony from 77 executives of the Odebrecht [ODBES.UL] construction firm, which is at the center of a vast political graft scheme. As part of a plea bargain, the owners of the JBS meatpacking company accused Temer and Rocha Loures of receiving kickbacks. Temer took over after Rousseff was removed a year ago for illegal management of the federal budget.

The political turmoil in Brazil - that began with the push a year ago to remove Rousseff from power for violating budget laws - has reached a fever pitch.

The Supreme Court is overseeing scores of corruption cases against Brazilian politicians, including ministers, senators and lower house deputies, whose cases are not handled by lower courts.

"What we have to preserve here is the popular vote", he said.

The approval process in Congress could be lengthy and Mr Temer is working daily to maintain enough support among legislators to defeat any eventual charges.

The main parties in Temer's coalition have stuck with him so far, but there are reports of worry in the ranks that being associated with his government could be detrimental to re-election campaigns next year.

"Temer will argue, 'I'm the guy who is going to give the country the bitter remedy that will cure it", said Carlos Manhanelli, political marketing specialist and chairman of the Brazilian Association of Political Consultants.