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Brazil’s Best Shot Against Corruption

Why It Should Have Faith in Its Constitutional System

People attend a protest against Brazilian President Michel Temer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2017.  Julio Guimaraes / REUTERS

In the late 1980s, Brazilians paid no small price for establishing democracy after a series of military dictatorships. Diretas Já! (Direct Elections, Now!), a civil unrest movement active between 1983 and 1984 that called for direct presidential elections and involved a broad spectrum of society, is probably the most emblematic episode of Brazil’s long fight for democracy. And now it has been resurrected as a new group of protesters demands direct elections to replace the current president, Michel Temer. In May of this year, Temer was accused of allegedly obstructing justice in a corruption investigation that had him as a possible suspect. The problem is that even if the accusations turn out to be true, the Brazilian constitution only allows for indirect elections to fill the presidency at this point, and only temporarily until the next regular elections happen at the end of 2018. Direct elections now, in other words, would be

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