Brazil’s top electoral court dismissed a case on Friday that threatened to unseat President Michel Temer for allegedly receiving illegal campaign funds in the 2014 election when he was the running mate of ousted former President Dilma Rousseff.
The court voted 4-3 to acquit the Rousseff-Temer ticket, avoiding the removal of Temer, who has been besieged by economic recession and corruption scandals since replacing Rousseff last year.
On Thursday, Brazil’s seven-member Supreme Electoral Court, TSE, signaled their vote to acquit Rousseff and Temer’s election victory.
The TSE also voted against allowing 77 Odebrecht executives from giving plea-bargain testimony in the election case. Millions of illegal funds were allegedly funneled to the Rousseff-Temer campaign in 2014.
However, only Temer’s position was secured as a result of the evidence exclusion, allowing him to remain in office while Rousseff’s ouster goes unchanged.
Reuters reported that even if Temer were acquitted, he would have to face separate charges of corruption and obstruction of justice. Last month, he was caught red-handed on tape giving his blessings to hush money paid to Eduardo Cunha, former speaker of Brazil’s lower house of representatives.
Cunha is reported to be aware of dozens of criminal secrets that could further jeopardize the legitimacy of Temer’s presidency.
Dozens of Brazilian congressmen and large swaths of Temer’s own cabinet have been identified in the ongoing Operation Car Wash investigations that have rocked almost every facet of Brazilian politics over the past three years. Prosecutors have their docket full of cases to pursue if Temer goes unscathed.
One of the most damning incidents include a conversation that was secretly recorded between him and Joesley Batista, chairman of Brazil’s largest meatpacking company, JBS. Upon being informed that hush money was being paid to Cunha, Temer simply responded, “Look, you’ve got to keep that up.”
Having ascended to the presidency through what many observers describe as being a parliamentary coup, Temer has suffered from appallingly low approval ratings and constant protests.
The latest Paraná Institute Research poll indicates that 87 percent of Brazilians favor the immediate removal of Temer. Meanwhile, 88 percent support his impeachment, resignation or removal by the Supreme Court.