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A flag pole covered with the Portuguese words, "Darling Dilma," under a picture of former President Dilma Rousseff, at the presidential residence, Brasilia, Brazil, Sept. 6, 2016 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

What Does the Future Hold for Brazil’s Embattled Workers’ Party?

Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016

For too long, there has been little accountability in Brazilian politics. Corrupt politicians often benefit from both an intricate and lax judicial system and public opinion that seems to be, in many cases, overly lenient toward cases of corruption. The proverb that “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion” could apply to every Brazilian politician—and not just their spouses. Many suspicious or even formally suspected figures lurk in the sizable shadow of doubt that looms over the country’s political landscape. Almost 40 percent of Brazil’s lawmakers are currently under some kind of investigation.

Beneath this blanket of impunity, though, some promising and underlying trends suggest a glimmer of hope. Judicial and investigative institutions, while still imperfect, have grown stronger in recent years. Independent judges and prosecutors have more legal tools at their disposal to uncover elaborate corruption schemes involving large swathes of the country’s political class and business elites. The ongoing investigation into kickbacks at the state run energy giant, Petrobras, known as “operation car wash,” is the clearest example. For the first time in Brazil’s history, powerful politicians have been taken to court and, in several cases, convicted. ...

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