Brazil's Rousseff under pressure but impeachment seen unlikely

martes 10 de febrero de 2015 13:30 GYT

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA Feb 10 (Reuters) - For the first time since a corruption scandal erupted at Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras last year, senior opposition politicians are publicly floating the possibility of impeaching President Dilma Rousseff.

She does not face an immediate risk of impeachment, leading opponents told Reuters, but that could change if prosecutors find evidence that Rousseff knew of or benefited from the massive graft scheme.

Prosecutors say executives at Petroleo Brasileiro SA , as Petrobras is formally known, conspired with contractors to skim billions of dollars for themselves and political parties when Rousseff was the company's chairwoman from 2003 to 2010.

The scheme continued after she became Brazil's president in 2011.

Rousseff has conceded that graft took place but emphatically denied that she knew about it at the time. She has urged a full investigation and prosecutors have not presented any evidence that she was complicit in the scheme.

However, a steady stream of arrests and new revelations about the misappropriated money, as well as a recent sharp downturn in Brazil's economy, appear to have emboldened Rousseff's opponents in Congress and elsewhere.

In a poll published over the weekend that showed Rousseff's approval ratings sinking to an all-time low, 77 percent of respondents said they believed she knew about the corruption at Petrobras.

Antonio Carlos Mendes Thame, a legislator and senior leader for the opposition Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), caused a storm last week when he said in response to a question that the party had "no qualms" about trying to impeach Rousseff if evidence against her mounted.   Continuación...