Brazil’s Embattled Rousseff Loses PP From Coalition

Brazil’s Embattled Rousseff Loses PP From CoalitionBrazil’s Embattled Rousseff Loses PP From Coalition

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 said most of its 47 MPs would vote for Rousseff to be impeached.

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

Rousseff, who faces an impeachment vote in the lower house on Sunday, says her opponents are 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 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—342 MPs—is needed to send the impeachment case to the Senate.

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

Earlier on Tuesday, 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 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 destabilize a legitimately elected president,” Rousseff said.

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

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

Temer has said that the message was released by accident.

Speaking in an interview with the conservative Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper on Tuesday, Temer argued that he had spent weeks away from the capital Brasilia specifically so that no one could accuse him of plotting behind the scenes.

On Monday evening, amid rowdy scenes, a 65-member congressional committee voted 38 to 27 to recommend going ahead with impeachment proceedings.

MPs are due to start debating on Friday, officials said, with voting beginning on Sunday at about 14:00 (1700 GMT). The result should be known later in the evening.

Security is expected to be stepped up around the Congress building in Brasilia as the vote takes place.

While President Rousseff’s opponents say the impeachment is supported by most Brazilians, the president’s supporters have labelled it a flagrant power grab by her political enemies.

If the president and Temer are both suspended from office, the next in line to assume the presidency is Cunha. However, he is facing money laundering and other charges.