Thursday, April 21, 2016 6:57 am
Beleaguered Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will travel to New York in a bid to rally international support against her impeachment, leaving behind a Cabinet paralysed by political crisis as another minister defected on Wednesday.
Rousseff aides said the leftist leader will attend a United Nations event on Friday in New York where she will denounce as illegal the attempt to impeach her, a process that could see her forced from office within weeks in a process she calls a “coup d’état without weapons.”
Energy Minister Eduardo Braga said he was quitting her government following orders from his centrist PMDB party, Rousseff’s main coalition partner until it abandoned her last month to back her ouster. Rousseff’s impeachment would end 13 years of rule by the leftist Workers Party.
Nine ministers in Rousseff’s 31-member cabinet have now resigned, leaving important portfolios without politically appointed heads, including the Tourism and Sports ministries only four months before Brazil hosts the Olympic Games. Rousseff may not even be president by the time the Games start.
Vice President Michel Temer, who would take over if Rousseff is impeached, met with close advisors in Sao Paulo to study plans for a new government that, aides said, would move quickly to restore economic confidence and growth.
The crisis has paralysed Brazil’s ability to revive the economy from its worst recession in decades in the midst of a massive corruption scandal involving state-run oil firm Petrobras .
Murilo Portugal, the head of Brazil’s most powerful banking industry lobby, has emerged as a strong candidate to become finance minister if Temer takes power, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Rousseff lost a crucial vote in the lower house of Congress on Sunday and now faces impeachment by the Senate on charges of breaking budget laws.
With the prospect of the Senate suspending her in three weeks, Rousseff cancelled her trip to attend the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change on Friday to focus on her political survival.