Location Venezuela Venezuela

Brazil Gov’t Shakeup Near as Rousseff Opponents Hint at Rupture

The impeachment process against the president could gain ground if the PMDB, in a coalition with Rousseff’s PT, decides to break with the ruling party.

A political crisis continues to swirl around the government in Brazil, as the PMDB party, the country’s largest political force divided over attempts to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, is expected to definitively decide Tuesday whether to break their coalition with the ruling PT party, officials announced Monday.

The PMDB’s support for Rousseff’s government has splintered, with house speaker Eduardo Cunha breaking ties last year to spearhead impeachment efforts, while Vice President Michel Temer has maintained his alliance with the president despite hinting at an impending rupture.

Ending the coalition, expected to be decided on at the party’s national leadership meeting, could determine the outcome of opponents’ bid for Rousseff’s impeachment, weakening her support to be able to block the process.

If the impeachment process goes forward, PMDB’s Temer would take over from Rousseff in the case of temporary or permanent suspension from office. Temer, Cunha, and the PMDB are more deeply implicated in charges of corruption than Rousseff and her Workers’ Party, or PT.

The PMDB, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, plans to roll out an austerity program if the impeachment attempt is successful and they seize control of the government. The party is considering dramatic cuts in social benefits, including a large housing program for the poor and displaced workers and a program to make college education more accessible.

The impeachment attempt against the president will keep marching forward this week with the bar association filing a new request to remove Rousseff from power.

Rousseff has said that although the days of strong-arm coups are a thing of the past in Latin America, Brazil is living an attempt at a “coup against democracy” through an impeachment process without legal footing.

Authorities are also expected to rule this week on whether the president’s predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, facing charges for corruption, is allowed to accept a position in Rousseff’s cabinet.

Critics say the appointment is designed to shield Lula from prosecution, but Rousseff says she needs his expertise to bring the country out of crisis. Lula has vowed to support the president as a personal advisor if his post as a top minister is blocked.

Lula and Rousseff have slammed allegations against them as politically motivated, arguing that right-wing factions are attempting to manipulate the corruption scandals to remove the PT from power after failing to defeat the party for years at the ballot box.

Rousseff’s PT has maintained an alliance with the PMDB since Lula was elected in 2003.


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