The PMDB’s departure is being widely regarded by mainstream Brazilian media as a critical step towards the impeachment of Rousseff, in the latest chapter of Brazil’s political crisis.

 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian Senator Romero Juca (C), President of Chamber of Deputies of Brazil Eduardo Cunha (4th-L-Up) and former Brazilian Minister of Brazilian Civil Aeronautics, Eliseu Padilha (4th-R-Up) react during a meeting of national directorate of Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMBD) in Brasilia, capital of Brazil, on March 29, 2016. The PMDB, led by Vice President Michel Temer, announced Tuesday its decision to leave President Dilma Rousseff's government, depriving her of major coalition ally, Brazilian press reported. (Xinhua/AGENCIA ESTADO)
(Xinhua) — The Brazilian Senator Romero Juca (C), President of Chamber of Deputies of Brazil Eduardo Cunha (4th-L-Up) and former Brazilian Minister of Brazilian Civil Aeronautics, Eliseu Padilha (4th-R-Up) react during a meeting of national directorate of Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMBD) in Brasilia, capital of Brazil, on March 29, 2016. The PMDB, led by Vice President Michel Temer, announced Tuesday its decision to leave President Dilma Rousseff’s government, depriving her of major coalition ally, Brazilian press reported. (Xinhua/AGENCIA ESTADO)

FROM FRIEND TO FOE

The PMDB is Brazil’s largest party, with the highest number of elected Congress members, and has been, until now, a long-time ally of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT), to which Rousseff belongs.

The PMDB has been in the ruling party’s administrations since the second term of Rousseff’s predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, started in 2006, and was also part of the large coalition which elected Rousseff twice as president, first in 2010 and again in 2014.

However, Eduardo Cunha, a PMDB affiliate and president of Brazil’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, authorized in December a process to impeach Rousseff.

Vice President Michel Temer, another notable PMDB member, has been regarded as the mastermind behind the PMDB’s decision to leave the coalition.

Temer is expected to stay in his position, as he would become the next president, should Rousseff been impeached.

DOMINO EFFECTS MAY BE TRIGGERED

The departure of the largest party in the coalition may also encourage smaller partners which are on the fence to leave the administration.

The Progressive Party, which has 49 House members and six senators, has already announced meetings to decide whether it will stay in the ruling coalition.

Furthermore, the main opposition party, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), was quick to offer PMDB suggestions that they work together to kick out Rousseff and form a new government.

Senator Aecio Neves, leader of the PSDB, said that his party is willing to form a government with the PMDB, should Rousseff fall.

Neves told the press on Tuesday that the PMDB’s exit has “shut the lid” on the PT’s time in government.

“Dilma’s government is over. The PMDB’s exit has shut the lid on a moribund government which does not offer the most basic conditions…to return to growth and create jobs,” said Neves, who lost to Rousseff in the 2014 general election.

He added that the PSDB would be ready to collaborate with a potential PMDB government.

IMPEACHMENT VOTE LIKELY TO HAPPEN

The next session of the Chamber of Deputies’ impeachment commission is set for Thursday, which will decide whether to drop the impeachment process or proceed to a vote, an likely decision given broad hostility toward Rousseff in Congress.

A two-thirds majority vote, in favor of the impeachment, is needed to send the matter to the Senate, which means Rousseff needs 172 out of 513 votes to halt the proceedings.

However, the PT has only 58 representatives, while the PMDB has the largest bloc with 68 and the PSDB has 50.

Rousseff met on Tuesday with ministers from other allied parties, persuading them not to leave the coalition, a move to gather enough votes to prevent the impeachment.

In a show of strength by the PT, Jaques Wagner, who heads up Rousseff’s presidential office, said on Tuesday that the exit of the PMDB could give the president a chance to form a new government.

“The government receives the PMDB’s decision…and thanks its members for their collaboration in President Dilma’s government for the last five years. I believe this decision comes at a good time as it offers President Dilma a chance to rebuild her government,” he said in a statement.

The government is working to forge a new alliance and will have news by Friday, Wagner said.

Source: Xinhua

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