Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff has joined her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in confirming she will not attend the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Rousseff, who was removed from office in May pending an impeachment trial in the Senate, had been invited to attend the event in the Maracanã Stadium on August 5 by the interim Government led by her former vice-president Michel Temer.
Temer is now expected to officially declare the Games open, with the final result into the impeachment trial delayed until August 26 in order to avoid any potential fallout overshadowing the Olympics.
Concerns had been expressed about the diplomatic risks of having both Temer and Rousseff present alongside so many other international dignitaries.
It had also been confirmed that Rousseff would not be invited into the VIP box alongside the likes of Temer, but would be sitting “in the stand below him”.
“She is not going,” a Rousseff aide told Reuters today.
This follows the official insisting yesterday that she would not play “second fiddle” to Temer.
Lula, who is also under investigation as part of the same impeachment allegations, will also not attend.
Rousseff has, however, claimed that both she and Lula should receive credit for the Games, as it was her Workers Party who carried-out preparatory work in both the bidding and candidature phases.
Lula’s speech and impressive lobbying was seen as a key reason why Rio was awarded the Games in 2009.
Rousseff has repeatedly met with Olympic officials in recent years, attending a ceremony to mark the start of the Olympic Torch Relay with a delegation from the Pan American Sports Organization shortly before her removal from power in May.
She is accused of “fiscal irresponsibility” for allegedly trying to manipulate budget gaps during the 2014 election.
Temer, who has also been accused of similar wrongdoing but is not facing impeachment, has met with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and promised to prioritise the Games.
It is still possible that the build-up to the impeachment result could lead to protests during the Olympics.
Indications suggest that the majority of senators support Rousseff’s removal.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz