Brazilian Vice-president admitted publicly “differences” inside the administration of President Dilma Rousseff following a serious, ‘high voice’ exchange he had with cabinet chief and political coordinator Antonio Palocci who in under investigation for over-night enrichment.
“The situation now is most calm” said Temer who is acting president since Dilma Rousseff left early Monday for a one day official visit to neighbouring Uruguay. Temer belongs to PMBD the party with most votes and a crucial ally of the ruling Workers Party in congress since they hold key posts and have sufficient votes to ensure a comfortable working majority plus dominating the Senate.
The situation apparently was triggered because of the lack of dialogue with President Dilma Rousseff, and most recently the investigation into the assets of Palocci and his life style including a flat in Sao Paulo which re rents for 9.000 US dollars per month.
The leading newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo revealed that Palocci’s assets multiplied by twenty in four years and that his consulting company in 2010 did business for the equivalent of 12.5 million US dollars.
Temer in an interview with Folha de Sao Paulo said he received a phone call from Palocci who in a “veiled threat” said that if PMDB did not support the Forestry Code currently under discussion in the Lower House, (which they did not), President Rousseff would begin firing PMDB ministers from cabinet.
“The discussion was tense, I admit I raised my voice, but there was no offensive language”, said Temer who following the skirmish with Palocci received a phone call from President Palocci requesting to put an end to the whole incident.
Temer added that apparently President Rousseff was cautioned by former president Lula da Silva “to try and mend relations with the PMDB and recover the political initiative”.
He added that with President Rousseff he agreed to hold three meetings this week: a “smiling picture” early morning Monday at the Air Force base before the president left for Uruguay; a private meeting on Tuesday and lunch on Thursday with all the PMDB Senators included those considered “rebels”.
The clash with the government was evident last week when the Lower House with the support from PMDB voted for an amendment in the Forestry Code which limits the Federal government monopoly to determine and regulate those areas considered of “permanent preservation”.
The spat escalated when President Rousseff feeling she had been cheated given the pre-accord to vote the code as it was sent by the Executive, let it be known she would veto those articles she considers erred if the situation was not reversed in the Senate.
During the Lower House discussion which also included an amnesty for those accused of illegal timbering which further irritated the Executive, the leader of the Workers party, speaking in the name of president Rousseff said that she considered the amendments introduced “shameful for Brazil”.