October 23, 2016

Brazil’s Rousseff suffers fresh coalition blow

The opposition has stepped up its campaign against Dilma Rousseff

Another coalition partner of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has announced it is quitting, dealing a further blow to her bid to stave off impeachment.

The Progressive Party (PP) said most of its 47 MPs would vote for Ms Rousseff to be impeached, BBC News reports.

Last month the PMDB, the largest party in Brazil’s governing coalition, also voted to leave.

Ms Rousseff, who faces an impeachment vote in the lower house on Sunday, said her opponents of plotting a “coup”.

They claim she manipulated accounts to hide Brazil’s growing deficit ahead of her election campaign two years ago. She denies this and her supporters say the issue is not valid grounds for impeachment anyway.

A PP spokeswoman told AFP news agency on Tuesday:”The party decided to withdraw from the… alliance, by majority decision.”

The PP is the fourth-largest party in the 513-seat lower house but it is not clear how its departure from the government might affect Sunday’s vote.

A two-thirds majority of 342 MPs is needed to send the impeachment case to the Senate.

A recent poll, before the PP’s announcement, showed 300 in favour of impeachment and 125 opposed, leaving 88 MPs still undecided or not stating their position.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ms Rousseff suggested that Vice-President Michel Temer was one of the ringleaders of the “coup” attempt against her.

She said a widely distributed audio message of Mr Temer appearing to accept replacing her as president, was evidence of the conspiracy. However, she did not identify him by name.

“They now are conspiring openly, in the light of day, to destabilise a legitimately elected president,” Ms Rousseff said.

She referred to “the chief and… the vice-chief” of the plot, an apparent reference to Mr Temer and lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha.

Brazil is “living in strange times”, she said, “times of a coup, of farce and betrayal”.

Mr Temer has said that the message was released by accident

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