UPDATE 2-Brazil House speaker weighs possibility of Rousseff impeachment

jueves 16 de julio de 2015 13:39 GYT

(Updates with quotes from party official, context)

By Maria Carolina Marcello

BRASILIA, July 16 (Reuters) - The speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress said on Thursday he is weighing legal arguments to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, which would be the first ouster of a sitting president in the country in nearly 23 years.

Eduardo Cunha, a leader of the PMDB party that is in charge of deciding whether to move ahead with impeachment, said such proceedings would be a step backwards for democracy, but added he expects a legal analysis on the matter within 30 days.

"I requested another legal analysis and I'm waiting to read that myself and come to a conclusion," Cunha told journalists.

Cunha had dismissed previous requests for impeachment out of hand, but calls are mounting from opposition lawmakers to unseat Rousseff for alleged campaign finance irregularities tied to a bribery scandal at state-run oil firm Petrobras.

Cunha has himself been named in a Supreme Court investigation of corruption at Petrobras, formally known as Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Although his party is part of the governing coalition, Cunha has dealt Rousseff a series of embarrassing defeats in Congress and his opposition has grown more strident as the chances of formal charges has risen.

At a breakfast with journalists in the capital, Cunha even entertained the idea that his large, centrist PMDB party could exit the governing coalition before the next election in 2018, saying such a move was "not impossible."   Continuación...