Brazil's president may lead a 'walking dead administration'

Brazil's president may lead a 'walking dead administration'

Brazil's president may lead a 'walking dead administration'

President Michel Temer's one-year-old government has been hit broadside by allegations that he may have obstructed justice by endorsing payment of hush money to a defendant in Brazil's sprawling "Car Wash" corruption investigation. FILE - In this May 8, 2017, file photo, Brazil's President Michel Temer listens in during a event at the Brazilian Institute of Research in Brasilia, Brazil.

In it, the president appears to agree to arrangements Batista says he has made to silence jailed former House speaker Eduardo Cunha and an associate. It has been interpreted as referring to bribes given to Cunha to make sure that he doesn't talk to prosecutors himself.

As a current president, Temer can not be prosecuted for alleged crimes prior to his mandate. Temer denies the allegation.

The Federal Supreme Court suspended Temer ally Senator Aecio Neves as police searched his home and office.

"That's why today the main question is to know whether the parties that form the government's base will leave", said Thomaz Pereira, constitutional law professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio. "The optimism returned and reforms were advancing in Congress", he said.

"I did not buy the silence of anyone", President Temer said, referring to the allegations made against him. On being stripped of the presidency her vice president, Temer automatically took over.

When the news broke on Wednesday evening, opponents started to call for Temer's resignation or impeachment, Xinhua reported.

"The country is in a state of shock", Marina Silva, a former environment minister and presidential aspirant, said in a video posted on Facebook. The alleged evidence is now in the hands of Brazil's Supreme Court.

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How Temer plans to continue to govern with the scandal hanging over him is uncertain.

Mr. Cunha was convicted this year of money laundering and corruption as part of the Operation Car Wash anticorruption probe.

Temer is also a subject of other investigations, including one into how his joint party ticket with Rousseff (he first came to power as vice-president) was funded, which could void the results of the 2014 election.

Temer, whose pension and labour reforms had been viewed positively by investors, has been caught on tape encouraging a prominent executive to pay off a witness in a major corruption probe. The speaker of the lower house of Congress, Rodrigo Maia, who is next in line of succession due to the absence of a vice president, would take over until Congress elects a new president within 30 days to lead the country until the end of next year. Aecio Neves, who nearly won the presidency in 2014 and planned to run again next year.

From left, JBS CEO Wesley Batista, Energy and Northern Australia Minister Josh Frydenberg, Ye Cheng from Landbridge, and Andrew Robb, then Minister for Trade in Darwin previous year.

JBS, which grew rapidly under 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule due largely to low-priced loans from Brazil's national development bank, on Thursday said in a statement that seven of its executives, including Batista, had reached plea bargain deals with prosecutors.

According to the report, the president discussed the matter with Joesley Batista, an executive from the meatpacking giant JBS, on March 7.

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