The Brazilian Democratic Movement party (PMDB) voted Tuesday to leave a coalition with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff's Workers' Party amid deepening economic and political crises. The decision comes a day after Tourism Minister Henrique Eduardo Alves quit his position, saying dialogue between the two parties had been "exhausted."
Cabinet members belonging to the PMDB have been ordered to quit their position by April 12. However, it is uncertain if all the Cabinet position PMDB leaders would quit, as three of them have suggested they could refuse to follow party orders, according to the Guardian. Rousseff's government is embroiled in multiple corruption charges even as her coalition partner attacks her with impeachment. Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, a PMDB leader, allowed the proceedings for her ouster to be initiated in December 2015, according to the Economist.
"We're going to try to change the country. The economic and social crisis is very serious," Senator Romero Juca, the PMDB's first vice-president, was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
If Rousseff is ousted — a possibility she and her mentor former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have referred to as a "coup" — Vice-President and PMDB leader Michel Temer will be the interim president. The opposition Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) and five other parties have agreed to support Temer's interim position as head of state.
Rousseff cancelled her visit to Washington for a nuclear summit after troubles at home increased, BBC reported.
The Associated Press quoted Lula as saying Monday he would ask Temer to help Rousseff keep her job. However, Lula, who remains the most popular leader in the country, is himself struggling against corruption charges in the Petrobras case, from which even the PMDB is not spared.
Brazil recently took a hit to its investment-grade rating as the country sunk deeper into crisis, which the political leaders have not been able to plug, Reuters reported.
Another controversy that rocked the Workers' Party was when Rousseff tried to hire Lula as her chief of staff. His appointment was blocked by the Supreme Court as a ploy to shield him from the ongoing Petrobras investigation being conducted by a lower court. In Brazil, Cabinet members can be investigated only by the Supreme Court, and the corruption case regarding the state oil company is being currently handled by a lower court.
"Rousseff's government is finished. The departure of the PMDB is the last nail in the coffin of a dying government," PSDB leader and Senator Aecio Neves told the Guardian.