Brazil Fiscal Tactics Not Grounds for Impeachment, Minister Says

Attempts by opposition members of congress to use an audit court’s decision as grounds to impeach President Dilma Rousseff are signs of “compulsive desperation,” according to Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo.

“All the juridical institutions of the administration, including the central bank, understand that there was no violation of the fiscal responsibility law,” Cardozo said in a press conference Friday. “This situation has been going on since 2001 in the government of the opposition.”

Brazil’s audit tribunal this week asked to hear 17 current and former members of Rousseff’s cabinet, including central bank President Alexandre Tombini and former Finance Minister Guido Mantega, to explain an operation in which the government delayed payments of 40 billion reais ($13.2 billion) to public banks in order to meet its fiscal goals. Aecio Neves, the president of the opposition Social Democrats Party and who lost to Rousseff in last year’s election, said the audit court’s finding could be grounds to begin impeachment proceedings.

Two mass demonstrations since last month saw more than a million people take to the streets to protest corruption and demand Rousseff’s impeachment. Politicians from her Workers’ party and allies are being investigated by police for a kickback scheme that funneled hundreds of millions of dollars from contracts with state-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA to campaigns and congressmen.

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