Brazil crisis deepens with probe of president, top senator

19 May, 2017, 17:00 | Author: Benny Bass
  • Brazil crisis deepens with probe of president, top senator

"I will not resign. I demand an immediate investigation".

Brazilian federal police are searching the office and homes of a top senator and presidential contender.

"I can't see how Temer survives this", said David Fleischer, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia.

Instead, the embattled leader remained defiant in a national address to respond to allegations he was recorded endorsing payments to former lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha. The country's supreme court says it's going to investigate.

Brazilian stocks tumbled at the news, both chambers of Congress canceled their sessions and Temer reportedly cleared his schedule.

Crucially, a source in the PSDB, the main partner with Temer's PMDB, says that if the Globo report is confirmed they will quit the government.

The man Mr Temer allegedly condoned the bribery of - Eduardo Cunha - is in prison for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. According to the account, Temer told Batista: "You need to keep doing that". Instead, the veteran center-right politician - who took over past year with a promise to restore Brazil's stability after the impeachment of leftist president Dilma Rousseff - came out swinging.

More anti-Temer protests were planned this weekend.

Already a Who's Who of the elite has been imprisoned or placed under investigation. Rousseff was not directly implicated; Temer, however, was accused of participating in the graft. If he was found not guilty, he would be able to return to his job. The country's President Michel Temer insists he will not resign despite a probe into potential corruption.

Temer and Cunha are members of the same party and were previously allies.

ELECTORAL COURT RULING The biggest threat to Temer's survival could be a ruling by Brazil's top electoral court, known as the TSE, annulling the results of the 2014 election won by the Rousseff-Temer ticket for the use of illegal funds in the campaign. The report threatened to torpedo a two-year rally in Brazilian assets as traders quickly reassessed the chances of success of efforts to streamline the country's social security system and reform labor regulations.

Before Rousseff, Luiz Inacio da Silva or Lula, who was president from 2003 to 2011, was involved in the Petrobras scandal himself and is now facing trial for it. Because so many politicians here are caught up in this corruption scandal.

Temer has denied the allegations and is expected to make a public statement about the allegations later in the day. "I did not buy anybody's silence".

After listening to the recording, a spokesman for Temer said the president was more resolute than ever to fight the investigation and salvage his deeply unpopular presidency.

Last year, Temer took over as president after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in a ruction attributed to the then-powerful Cunha. Opposition politicians called for his impeachment. According to recent data released by pollster Datafolha, Temer's popularity rating is less than 9%.

On Wednesday, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) said law changes intended by Temer's government endangered a giant swathe of rain forest and opened up indigenous reservations to mining.

The WWF described the plan as an "offensive", involving an area of about 80 thousand square kilometers, "almost the size of the territory of Portugal".

Brazil's Treasury and central bank said they stood ready to keep markets liquid and working properly.

"The future will be for soy, corn and sugar cane", said Workers Party lawmaker Nilto Tatto.

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