By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and the PT party are preparing for a difficult week, with the likelihood of allied PMDB party announcing it is leaving the government and impeachment discussions finalizing in the Chamber of Deputies Special commission.
Analysts say that on Tuesday, Brazil’s largest political party, the PMDB is likely to announce it is withdrawing its support for the Rousseff Administration.
The government has set up a permanent crises center to receive and analyze the demands made by Congressional representatives and cabinet members from the PMDB willing to stay on the government’s side. The PMDB representatives’ help, say analysts, will be crucial for Rousseff to avoid the impeachment process.
According to media reports, many PMDB cabinet members and politicians with positions in the Rousseff Administration are contemplating taking a leave of absence from the party so that they may remain in the government.
Other high-ranking PMDB members, however, are already talking to opposition parties. Last week, the country’s VP, Michel Temer, from the PMDB met with opposition leader and former presidential candidate, senator Aecio Neves to discuss the political situation in the country.
With the Chamber’s President, Eduardo Cunha, clearly at odds with the Administration, and the VP opening up a communication channel with the opposition, it has been up to another PMDB bigwig, Senate President Renan Calheiros, to speak in favor of the Administration.
“It is important that people know that for impeachment there has to be proof of a crime of responsibility by the President,” said Calheiros last week to reporters. “When impeachment occurs without this proof it is not impeachment. The name for it is something else,” he added alluding to the notion by the PT party that the impeachment process is in reality a coup by the opposition.
In addition to the loss of support from the PMDB, President Rousseff also faces the end of the discussions about her impeachment process in the Chamber’s special commission. Legislative rules state that the commission must hold at least ten sessions of discussions.
If representatives hold sessions in all five working days this week, as Cunha wishes, the discussion period for the special commission will end on Monday, April 4th, when President Rousseff’s defense team will have a chance to speak in favor of the President. If the commission does not accept the justifications the process will go to the Chamber floor to be voted on.
Without the PMDB’s support the situation for the government becomes extremely delicate. Analysts say that if the PMDB announces it is departing from the government coalition, it is likely that that other smaller parties will also withdraw their support, and likely leaving President Rousseff without enough votes to stop the impeachment process from going to a Senate vote.
A survey last week on the Rousseff Administration shows that 68 percent of Brazilians support the impeachment of Brazil’s President while 65 percent think President Rousseff should resign. The Chamber’s special commission is deciding whether allegations that President Rousseff violated Brazil’s fiscal laws and manipulated government finances are true.