Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff ordered a “cleanup and fumigation” in the Agriculture ministry following claims of lobbyism and suspended all tenders at the Ministry of Transport where the minister and his top staff resigned because of corruption charges.
Presidential close aides said Agriculture Minister Wagner Rossi was instructed to purge and clean up the ministry following the ousting of his Deputy over the week end on claims of irregularities including claims a lobbyist had his own office next to that of the sacked official.
President Rousseff has lost four ministers in her seven month administration; ex-cabinet Chief Antonio Palloci for alleged enrichment; Transport minister Alfredo Nascimento; Defence minister Nelson Jobim for derogatory remarks about some of his colleagues in a magazine interview; Deputy Minister of Tourism Frederico Silva Costa together with 38 officials, (most of them in custody) and now the Deputy Agriculture minister.
The situation of Agriculture minister Rossi and Tourism minister Pedro Novaes is not clear yet and they could still be forced to step down.
The Brazilian president’s approval ratings have dropped six percentage points, from 73% to 67% in a month according to a public opinion poll from Ibope released this week.
The poll was concluded July 31 in the midst of the Transport ministry corruption scandal allegedly for skimming a percentage of all contracts tendered.
The approval of Ms Rousseff’s administration was also down from 56% to 48% compared to the previous poll from March.
All the officials involved belong mainly to PMDB, President Rousseff’s main ally in the ruling coalition of twelve parties. PMDB responds to Vice president Michel Temer who has full control of the federal Senate, sufficient benches in the Lower House to block legislation and several important governorships.
In related news President Rousseff called on the congressional coalition to support the government in implementing emergency measures and pruning the budget in the wake of the financial crises in Europe and the US.
She made the appeal in a meeting of the Political Council that brings together the leaders of the twelve parties ruling coalition.
The Brazilian president appealed to the “maturity” and responsibility of the parties putting as an example of the temptations to avoid the recent divide between ruling Democrats and Republicans during the US debt ceiling debate.