Brazil’s President Michel Temer, together with congressional leaders, has vowed to block any attempt by legislators to grant themselves a corruption amnesty as he sought to defuse a series of scandals. In a rare weekend news conference, the president sought to reassure Brazilians that he is fighting corruption among the political elite and working to restore an economy that he predicted will see an upturn in the second quarter of 2017.
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Temer — a centre-right veteran politician who took power after the bruising impeachment of his leftist predecessor Dilma Rousseff — has stated his mission is to save Brazil from its worst recession and corruption scandal in decades.
However, the country’s would-be saviour is now beset by controversy himself just as the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on a 20-year spending freeze that would be the first of several deep reforms billed as measures to restore the economy’s health.
Seated alongside the speakers of the Senate and lower house of Congress, Temer yesterday said he would veto any attempt by the legislature to grant itself an amnesty on undeclared campaign donations.
“It would be impossible for the president of the republic to approve something of this nature,” he said. “We all agreed there isn’t the slightest basis… for going ahead with this proposal.”
He was responding to public outrage over an attempt in the lower house on Thursday to vote on a bill apparently including an amnesty for the previous acceptance of undeclared funds –often suspected to be bribes — in political campaigns.
Temer, who took office vowing to end the paralysis and infighting of the Rousseff presidency, was also forced to respond to the latest crisis within his own cabinet.
It involves a powerful minister, government secretary Geddel Vieira Lima, who forced to resign on Friday after the former culture minister accused him of pressuring him to intervene in a business deal. The ministerial resignation was the sixth since Temer took over in May.
The former culture minister has claimed that Temer also pressured him over the business deal and that he had secretly recorded the president, according to local media reports.
Temer said he had never misused his influence and blasted the use of secret recordings.