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Brazilian President Says He Won't Resign Over Hush Money Allegations

19 Mai 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazilian President Michel Temer on Thursday rejected calls for his resignation, saying he will fight allegations that he endorsed the paying of hush money to a former lawmaker jailed for corruption.

"All signs point to the end of the government: the opening of inquiry in the Supreme Court, allies abandoning the president, and critical media coverage", said Mauricio Santoro, a political scientist and professor of external relations at Rio de Janeiro State University.

"Given the gravity of the situation and the responsibility to keep Brazil from plunging into the imponderable, the only option is for President Michel Temer to resign", said Sen.

He had served three times as speaker of the lower house of Congress and been president of the PMDB for 15 years.

Temer's office denied anything illegal took place in a written statement late Wednesday.

Piling on the pressure, the Supreme Court greenlighted a formal investigation into Temer's alleged involvement with the hush money.

Earlier on Thursday, the Federal Supreme Court approved an investigation into the president over the wiretap evidence, Brazil's daily newspaper O Globo reported.

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Mr. Cunha was convicted this year of money laundering and corruption as part of the Operation Car Wash anticorruption probe.

Globo did not say how it got the information about the recording, which it said was offered in a plea bargain between Batista and his brother Wesley with prosecutors.

The Brazilian fund manager says the country now faces questions over who will run its country with potential candidates for October 2018 elections each impacting the market in different ways. Remember, he took over a year ago after his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached. If Temer lost both votes, he would be suspended for up to 180 days. That's basically a huge inquiry into an enormous interlocking set of scandals in which politicians here have basically been handing out contracts to the country's industrial giants in return for kickbacks into the party coffers or, in some cases, offering to pass legislation favorable to those industrial entities in return for payments. The recordings were allegedly made by Joesley Batista, the owner of JBS - Brazil's largest producer and exporter of meat.

Last year, Temer took over as president after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in a ruction attributed to the then-powerful Cunha. He also told allied lawmakers that he would not be driven from office.

"This certainly makes approval of the reforms more hard", Senator Valdir Raupp, a close ally to Temer, told Reuters.

Temer was referring to the social counterrevolution that his government has embarked upon since taking office following Rousseff's impeachment. The mission of another Lula government would be to contain the growing militancy of the Brazilian working class and keep it subordinated to capitalist interests.

SHAPIRO: As we mentioned, Brazilians marched in the streets calling for the president to go. Their aim is to channel the rising anger against the entire capitalist setup in Brazil back behind the discredited Workers Party (PT) and, in particular, the candidacy of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former metalworkers union leader who occupied the presidency from 2003 to 2010.

Brazilian President Says He Won't Resign Over Hush Money Allegations