Brazil’s largest party abandoned President Dilma Rousseff’s governing coalition Tuesday, making it tougher for her to survive mounting pressure in the Congress for her impeachment.
The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, known as the PMDB, said after a meeting that six Cabinet Ministers belonging to the party as well as some 600 federal government employees, who were members, must step down. The announcement was made on Tuesday after more than 100 lawmakers approved the decision, according to the press office of Romero Juca, an influential Senator.
“As of today in this historical meeting for the PMDB, the party withdraws from the base of the government of President Dilma Rousseff and no one in the country is authorised to hold any federal position in name of the PMDB,” Mr. Juca said to loud cheers and applause after the decision was approved.
Call for Vice-President to be President
The session ended with chants calling for the end of Ms. Rousseff’s Worker’s Party and for Vice-President Michel Temer to become Brazil’s President. Mr. Temer, who is the leader of the Democratic Movement, would assume the presidency if Ms. Rousseff was impeached for breaking fiscal laws.
The break increases the chance that Ms. Rousseff, whose popularity has plunged amid Brazil’s worst recession in decades and corruption scandals, will be impeached in the coming months.
‘It is curtains for ruling coalition’
“The exit of the PMDB, President Dilma’s main ally, represents the end of the ruling coalition and greatly increases the chances of her impeachment, for her party is now a minority in Congress,” said Carlos Pereira, a professor at the Fundacao Getulio Vargas, a top Brazilian university.
“PMDB’s exit will definitely encourage smaller parties to follow its example and leave the coalition, forcing Dilma’s government into a situation of political isolation,” he added.
People seek her impeachment
Brazilians have been staging wide protests demanding the President’s impeachment and protesting the sprawling corruption scandal at state-run oil giant Petrobras that has been moving closer to Ms. Rousseff’s inner circle. Ms. Rousseff, a former chairwoman of Petrobras’ board, has not been implicated in the unfolding scandal at the oil company, which prosecutors say is the largest corruption scheme ever uncovered in Brazil.
Her backers cry power grab
Ms. Rousseff backers say impeachment is a power grab by opponents who themselves have been sullied by the probe into kickbacks and bribery at Petrobras.
“The law and the constitution foresee that to remove the President there must be a fiscal crime and there isn’t one,” said Afonso Florence, a leader in the governing Workers Party.
“That is why impeachment is a coup, but not only a coup against the President, but also against democratic legality.”
She has to start from scratch
The embattled leader will now search for new allies and will try to form a new government before the end of the week, Ms. Rousseff’s Chief of Staff, Jaques Wagner, told reporters.