Brazilian Political Crisis to Worsen, Head of Lower House Says

Brazil’s political crisis will deteriorate, making it even harder for President Dilma Rousseff to govern the country, said lower house President Eduardo Cunha.

“The strain of the political crisis coupled with the economic crisis is eroding the government’s popularity,” Cunha told reporters in Brasilia Thursday. “I see the governability crisis worsening.”

Cunha, who is a member of the Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, has increasingly challenged Rousseff’s agenda since her popularity plunged to the lowest of any president in more than two decades. While the lower house has approved the bulk of tax increases and spending cuts proposed by Rousseff, it has added amendments to the bills that boost expenditures, such as higher pension payments.

Cunha said the PMDB, the biggest party in Rousseff’s coalition, is only staying in the ruling alliance to preserve governability. He said the party plans to appoint its own candidate to run for president in 2018 and that he doesn’t want an alliance with Rousseff’s Workers’ Party in the future.

His comments come the same week that federal police searched the homes of congressmen allegedly involved in a kickback scheme with state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA. He was among the more than 50 politicians cited in witness testimony as being connected to the corruption scandal. He denies all wrongdoing and has criticized Brazil’s prosecutor general for requesting an investigation on him.

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