Brazilian President Says He Won't Resign Over Hush Money Allegations

19 May, 2017, 14:12 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • Brazil's President Michel Temer is facing corruption charges

Brazil's highest court opened an investigation into President Michel Temer on Thursday, after one of the country's biggest newspapers accused him of paying a former Senate colleague hush money.

"All signs point to the end of the government: the opening of inquiry in the Supreme Court, allies abandoning the president, and critical media coverage", said Mauricio Santoro, a political scientist and professor of external relations at Rio de Janeiro State University.

The Brazilian President, Michel Temer, resisted calls to resign on Thursday after allegations surfaced that he condoned the bribery of a potential witness in a graft investigation.

The Sao Paulo stock market's Bovespa index crashed more than 10 percent, triggering an automatic suspension of trading for 30 minutes. Brazil's currency, the real, lost 8 percent of its value against the US dollar, according to the Central Bank's closing figure.

There were protests by several thousand people in Rio de Janeiro and the capital Brasilia which ended in clashes with riot police.

The wide-ranging corruption investigation began three years ago with the arrest of an executive at Petrobras, Brazil's government-run oil company.

Temer strongly denied the allegations and told allied lawmakers in a morning meeting that he would not be driven away from office. On Thursday, May 18, 2017, Brazilian federal police searched the office and homes of Neves, a top senator and presidential contender. Brazil's President Michel Temer is teetering in the wake of corruption allegations, with many asking whether he can survive. Temer is supposedly heard telling Eduardo Cunha, who was critical to Rousseff's impeachment, to keep silent about something, the precise nature of which is unknown.

Globo also reported that Batista had recorded Temer endorsing a bribe to silence Cunha.

Rousseff was impeached past year after the Senate found her guilty of breaking budgetary laws amid the swirling corruption investigation - though she herself was not accused of corruption. "So, I feel I have the right not to trust all this and to examine, in more detail, all these tapes, these recordings, before passing a definite judgement", Carlos Marun of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party said.

According to Batista, Temer appeared to be satisfied with what was said, lowered his voice, and purportedly said, "Look, you've got to keep that up". Congress cancelled its sessions, including suspending work on legislation that Temer's administration hopes will pull Latin America's largest economy out of its worst recession in decades.

But governing amid scandal is nothing new for Temer, who has seen several cabinet members forced to resign over the extensive three-year-old Operation Car Wash.

Temer, whose government has a 9-percent approval rating, had already been named in plea bargain testimony for negotiating millions in illegal campaign funding, which he denies.

If the allegations are proven true, "President Temer is unlikely to finish his term", Eurasia wrote, adding that at the very least the matter will delay major reforms Temer is proposing.

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