Vieira Lima is 4th minister to quit amid corruption allegations since Temer assumed presidency
President Dilma Rousseff was impeached three months ago
A key minister in Brazilian President Michel Temer’s government resigned Friday over a scandal that has cast a shadow over the President himself.
Geddel Vieira Lima, the minister in charge of relations with Congress, signed a letter of resignation following an accusation that he and the President had pressured another minister to approve a real estate project.
In the letter, Vieira Lima says given the “dimensions” the “criticisms” have gained, he felt compelled to resign. He praised Temer as “serious, ethical and agreeable.”
Continuing political turmoil
The latest scandal comes less than three months after former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached for breaking budgetary laws and Temer stepped in – fueling fears that the political turmoil and economic problems in Latin America’s biggest economy are far from over.
It’s just one more crisis in a country that has been rocked to the core by a massive bribery investigation implicating top business leaders and powerful politicians – most of them from Rousseff’s Workers Party and Temer’s centrist PMDB party.
News of the resignation hit stocks and the Brazilian real in trading on Friday.
In fact, Vieira Lima is the fourth minister to quit amid corruption allegations since Temer assumed the presidency.
The scandal began after Marcelo Calero resigned as culture minister.
According to state-run Agencia Brasil, Calero told police that Vieira Lima had pressured him to lift prohibitions on a luxury real estate development that was being blocked by cultural heritage regulations. Vieira Lima had invested in the property.
Subsequently, Calero told police that President Temer had also pressured him on Vieira Lima’s behalf, according to Agencia Brasil.
Temer denies the allegations. His spokesman told Agencia Brasil that he did try to help resolve a dispute between his ministers.