PMDB party pulls out of Dilma Rousseff's governing coalition in latest turn in Brazil's political crisis

Francesca Washtell
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The PMDB's move could hasten Brazil's congress to impeach president Dilma Rousseff (Source: Getty)

The largest party in Brazil's ruling coalition, the PMDB, has voted to leave the government in an "immediate exit" and said it will pull its members from president Dilma Rousseff's cabinet.

The centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party made the decision to withdraw the six remaining ministers in Rousseff's cabinet at a leadership meeting today. The PMDB's ministers, including the country's ministers of health, mines, tourism, labour, agriculture and fisheries, must either resign or face ethics proceedings.

The PMDB's move could sharply raise the odds that Rousseff will be impeached by congress within months. Her impeachment would make vice president Michel Temer, who is the leader of the PMDB, Brazil's president.

Rousseff has cancelled a trip to an international steel summit in Washington due to the political crisis, according to reports.

The speaker of Brazil's lower house, Eduardo Cunha, said in response to the PMDB's decision that the party had not been at fault for any of Rousseff's policies, according to Reuters.

Rousseff has been accused of manipulating public accounts in the run-up to her re-election in 2014, which would breach Brazil's fiscal rules. She has faced mass popular protests calling for her resignation and, in December, renewed calls for her to be impeached.

In early 2015, opposition politicians called for her impeachment after she became embroiled in a huge corruption scandal involving Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras. Rousseff was on the board of directors at the firm between 2003 and 2010, when massive corruption is alleged to have taken place. However, Rousseff has not been directly implicated in the scandal.

Petrobras posted a net loss of £7bn in the fourth quarter of 2015 in its financial results last week. The company's share price promptly fell by 5.5 per cent.

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