Brazil's biggest party sticks with unpopular Rousseff - for now
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA, July 27 (Reuters) - Brazil's largest party is standing by deeply unpopular President Dilma Rousseff for now despite the defection of one of its own leaders, but that could change if an expected recession stirs up social unrest, party leaders say.
Rousseff is struggling to save her presidency amid the worst economic downturn in 25 years and a political crisis set off by a massive kickback scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras implicating dozens of politicians from her coalition.
Eduardo Cunha, speaker of the lower house of Congress, broke off ties with Rousseff and wants his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) to pull out of the coalition but other party leaders say they are not ready to do that.
Instead, they plan to stand by Rousseff until 2018, when the party plans to field its own presidential election candidate.
"We will not break with her government now because that would worsen the serious economic situation Brazil faces in the second half of the year," Senator Eunicio Oliveira, the PMDB's leader in the Senate, told Reuters.
Just six months into her second and final term, Rousseff is walking on thin ice.
Polls show that almost two in every three Brazilians would like to see her impeached for mismanaging the economy and allegedly using kickback money in her 2010 and 2014 election campaigns. Her approval rating dropped to 7.7 percent in one poll published last week.
Rousseff's own leftist Workers' Party has attacked the austerity measures she has adopted to curb a growing fiscal deficit that threatens Brazil's investment grade. Continuación...