A yr has handed since Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached.
If her successor, Michel Temer, had any hopes of pacifying Brazil after the fractious battles that divided the nation final yr, current days have confirmed he’s nonetheless far off the mark.
President Temer, who will solely get to rule for 2 and a half years, has his consideration targeted on pushing via financial reforms, that are making him extremely unpopular.
Particularly as they arrive at a time of deep recession, the worst within the nation’s historical past.
So, is Brazil about to approve far-reaching reforms after which instantly elect a authorities that guarantees to undo them?
The way forward for Latin America’s greatest financial system is way from sure.
A story of two nations
Michel Temer’s Brazil typically looks as if two totally different nations.
In a single Brazil, the place a document 13.5 million individuals are unemployed, the temper is bleak.
One ballot means that three in each 4 Brazilians disapprove of the present authorities.
However one other nation emerges when one talks to market gamers.
The Brazilian inventory alternate has been on one massive rally since Mr Temer got here to energy. Inflation and rates of interest are falling sharply, and plenty of analysts forecast that recession is already over, though development remains to be more likely to be reasonable in 2017.
The massive pension debate
The federal government argues that the recession is being attributable to the widening hole between spending and revenues.
President Temer proposes to repair the financial system by rebalancing the funds, beginning by the pricey retirement system.
Nevertheless, on the finish of April, hundreds marched towards his plan, within the first normal strike in over 20 years.
In cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, there have been violent scenes. One ballot mentioned 71% had been towards modifications in retirement legal guidelines, which can see folks work longer and contribute extra to the general public pension system.
But just some days after the protests, the federal government comfortably handed the reform invoice via one in all its preliminary committees in Congress, as if nothing had occurred.
The “mom of all reforms” will in all probability be voted within the Decrease Home’s plenary later this month. Authorities officers and plenty of analysts imagine Mr Temer can get the reform totally authorized as early as September.
In his first yr in workplace, Mr Temer’s successful streak in Congress is spectacular. Particularly when in comparison with his predecessor Dilma Rousseff, who could not even muster one third of the votes to keep away from the impeachment proceedings.
Final yr, Mr Temer authorized a change to the structure, imposing a spending cap that freezes the nationwide funds in actual phrases for 20 years.
And final month, simply hours earlier than the final strike, MPs comfortably authorized Mr Temer’s labour reforms, which make hiring and firing extra versatile and weaken commerce unions.
The low-popularity president
However a president that may get issues performed in Congress will not be essentially a well-liked one.
Mr Temer typically says his energy comes from his lack of recognition.
Most individuals who not directly voted for him within the 2014 elections – when he was a part of Dilma Rousseff’s successful ticket – now despise him for what they are saying was a betrayal.
That unusually leaves him within the snug place of not having to fret about pleasing voters.
“Reputation will come later. My plan is to approve reforms, to place the nation again on observe. That is my solely objective,” he mentioned in response to polls.
Mr Temer not too long ago promised to depart politics after 2018.
The return of Lula?
Paradoxically, Mr Temer’s success in approving unpopular reforms might be his personal undoing.
Latest opinion polls counsel former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – generally known as Lula – emerges because the strongest contender to win subsequent yr’s presidential elections, which would be the first alternative for Brazilians to have their say on nationwide politics since final yr’s impeachment.
Lula accuses his previous ally of masterminding a coup d’état towards Ms Rousseff.
The primary motive for the coup, based on Lula, was to sponsor reforms that “revoke employees’ historic rights and drive folks to work longer”.
That logic appears to ring a bell with a part of the voters. Prior to now few weeks, because the reforms superior via Congress, Lula’s standing within the polls additionally elevated.
Nevertheless, Lula might not even be allowed to run for president and will go to jail earlier than subsequent yr’s elections, as he’s dealing with 5 totally different corruption costs. He appeared in courtroom earlier this week.
After two lengthy years of investigations, an enormous probe into bribery at state oil large Petrobras is lastly reaching its pinnacle this yr.
What’s Operation Automobile Wash?
The scandal left few politicians standing in Brazil. Aside from Lula, just about all well-known politicians from prime events are badly bruised in polls.
That might depart the door open for a number of newcomers, such because the far-right MP Jair Bolsonaro and Sao Paulo mayor and former Apprentice presenter Joao Doria.
However the image at this stage is simply too unclear for any predictions. Additionally the best way election campaigns are financed have been revamped since 2014, and the function of personal cash has been drastically decreased.
Many thought final yr’s impeachment saga had closed a complicated chapter in Brazil’s historical past. Now with the good thing about hindsight, it appears it opened probably the most unpredictable chapter.
Brazil’s future – to be written by voters subsequent yr – is anybody’s guess.