Brazil will continue to play its role under the old rules, even being weakened.
Brazilian Senate voted to start the impeachment procedure of President Dilma Rousseff. She is temporarily removed from power for six months and is under investigation. After 180 days, the Senate must again consider the president's resignation issue, and if it is approved by two-thirds of MPs, Dilma Rousseff leaves office definitively.
Can Dilma Rousseff stay in power, and if not, who will be her successor? How the turbulence in the internal affairs will affect Brazil's foreign policy? Lyudmila Okuneva, Director of the Centre for BRICS Studies, MGIMO University, discussed this in an interview to valdaiclub.com.
It is not necessary to jump to conclusions that after 180 days Dilma Rousseff will disappear from the political arena, Okuneva said. "I would not rule out any options. Now, all the events incline us to the fact that this is the end. But Brazil has repeatedly demonstrated, even in recent times, that this impeachment issue, which lasts from winter, can bring very unexpected turns. The civil society is very electrified, protests are not excluded. "
Vice-President Michel Temer is appointed Acting President of Brazil for the period of the Rousseff trial. He is a member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, which left the ruling coalition. According to Okuneva, he hardly can become Rousseff's successor. "I do not think that someone will elect him. He is a rather casual man who got such a high post accidentally "- she said.
The Russian expert stressed that Temer's status will not change, even if Rousseff will be impeached completely. He will continue to serve until elections which are to be held in October 2018, although now many people say about early presidential elections.
So whom the opposition and the ruling power can offer as a presidential candidate? Okuneva noted that this is not a simple question. "The ruling party has now virtually no leaders - previous leaders are largely discredited. The same Lula da Silva, who was president and played an important role in the political life of the country, is under investigation for a number of cases. And although he said that he would participate in the elections - and it was long ago for Brazilian standards - it is difficult to say whether he becomes a nominee," the expert said.
"The right-wing opposition has some political figures who have already participated in the elections, but were defeated. But they are still ready to go into the battle. Some regrouping of forces is expected from the left ", - Okuneva added.
However, despite the difficult internal political situation, Brazil will not take any drastic steps to change the present foreign policy course. "As to foreign policy, Brazil demonstrates its commitment to continuous variables, which changed a little throughout its history, even when political regimes changed. Foreign policy directions were not subject to conjunctural changes and remained stable, because they respond to the interests of the country ", - Okuneva said.
Therefore, in the international arena, Brazil will continue to play its role under the old rules, even being weakened. "It will not be able to continue this with the previous activity, but in general the foreign policy line will be conserved" – Lyudmila Okuneva concluded.