Brazil opposition party seeks President Michel Temer probe, impeachment

November 29, 2016 1:30 pm

’s President is seen in a muse during a meeting of the Economic and Social Development Council at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on November 21, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

A Brazilian opposition party has filed a petition for the impeachment of President Michel Temer over allegations of his involvement in an influence-peddling scandal.
The Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) filed the request after former culture minister Marcelo Calero said the president had pressured him into interfering in a business deal which involved General Secretary of the Brazilian Presidency Geddel Vieira Lima.
Vieira Lima resigned on Friday over the same scandal to become the sixth minister to quit since May. Temer became president in August after Dilma Rousseff was ousted in a contentious impeachment trial. 
“The president evidently sponsored a private interest from his public office,” the PSOL document said.
Calero said the president and Vieira Lima had asked him to approve a building project in the city of Salvador de Bahia, where Vieira Lima has an apartment. Temer denies the allegation but Calero has reportedly recorded the discussion with the president. 
Another impeachment demand is expected to be filed soon by Rousseff’s Workers’ Party. A dozen senators from the Workers Party and its Communist ally have filed a request with the public prosecutor’s office to investigate Temer over Calero’s allegations.
The prosecutor is already studying whether to investigate the charge by Calero.
On Monday, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor said his office requested recordings of the conversation the former culture minister said he had with Temer.
Rousseff was impeached and dismissed over a series of allegations of financial wrongdoing and breaking budget laws in August which she has denied, calling her impeachment trial a coup by Temer. 

Former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff arrives at a polling station in Porto Alegre on October 2, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Reports say even if an impeachment petition were put to the vote, it would unlikely pass both the lower house and senate in congress which are controlled by Temer’s allies.
Temer is already under fire over his plan to cap public spending which he says is necessary to help the country recover from its worst recession in decades.
Critics of the measure say education and health will be badly hit by the proposal, which was passed in the lower house of congress in October and now faces the first of two votes in the senate on Tuesday.
Brazil is currently in the midst of its “biggest” anti-corruption push which has seen prosecutors charging nearly 200 people, including top executives and politicians. Over 80 people have already been found guilty and sentenced.
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