Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told regional peers on Friday there is no room for anti-democratic adventures in South America, a day after the speaker of Brazil's lower house said he was weighing legal arguments for her impeachment. Speaking to the heads of state of Mercosur, Rousseff said political leaders should strive for dialogue to resolve ideological differences.
Rousseff comments came just hours after the speaker of the lower house of Congress and a key figure in her fragile ruling coalition, Eduardo Cunha, broke ties with her government and announced he was joining the opposition.
Brazil's political turmoil deepened Friday when the speaker of the lower house of Congress, a key figure in President Dilma Rousseff's fragile ruling coalition, announced he was joining the opposition. This puts in doubt whether Rousseff will have the sufficient votes in Congress to pass the budget cutbacks and reforms.
From today, the speaker of parliament is in opposition, he said live on national television in the capital Brasilia. Cunha added I will ask my party to go into opposition.
The PMDB, a longstanding coalition partner with Rousseff's Workers' Party, issued a cautious statement that left open the question over whether it will heed Cunha's call.
Cunha expressed a personal position, which we respect, the party said in a statement. But it also noted that any decisions had to be taken by relevant commissions according to party rules.
Rousseff's office said that the PMDB played and continues to play an important role in the heart of the government.
The latest salvo in Cunha's battle with Rousseff follows the allegation Thursday that the speaker demanded a $5 million bribe as part of the sprawling bribes-and-kickbacks scheme centred on the country's huge oil corporation, Petrobras.
Cunha blasted the allegation as politically motivated.
The Petrobras scandal, looming recession and an inability to connect with voters in the same way as her Workers' Party predecessor Lula da Silva have left Rousseff reeling since the start of her second term last year.
Cunha as a speaker has the authority to initiate impeachment proceedings that some opponents in Congress want over what they say was illegal campaign financing. He says he will take a decision within 30 days.
In a televised press conference, Cunha said there was a band of nutcases in the government who have hatred toward me.
Only a week ago Brazil's main opposition political party PSDB (Brazilian social democrat party) and its leader Senator Aecio Neves said that the party was ready to take the reins of government and put an end to all the corruption and uncertainty generated by the Workers Party governments.