Brazil lower house speaker says to break with government

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 17, 2015 10:59 AM

By Maria Carolina Marcello

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, announced his break with the government of President Dilma Rousseff on Friday, deepening a political crisis in Latin America's largest economy.

In a press conference in Brasilia on Friday, Cunha accused the Rousseff administration and prosecutor general Rodrigo Janot of conspiring to incriminate him in a broadening corruption scandal at state-run oil firm Petrobras.

The rift between Cunha and Rousseff does not necessarily mean an immediate departure of his PMDB party from the president's coalition, but Cunha said he would argue in favor of that.

The rupture, which has been in the works for months, comes a day after Cunha said he is weighing legal arguments for impeachment.

As speaker of the house, Cunha would be responsible in Congress for initiating that process.

Cunha's opposition could pose a major obstacle to any legislation proposed by Rousseff, complicating her efforts to shore up public finances and avert a credit ratings downgrade.

(Additional reporting by Silvio Cascione and Guillermo Parra-Bernal in Sao Paulo; Writing by Caroline Stauffer Editing by W Simon)