Lula arrest in Brazil graft probe raises risk of Rousseff's fall

viernes 4 de marzo de 2016 17:24 GYT

By Anthony Boadle and Alonso Soto

BRASILIA, March 4 (Reuters) - The implication of Brazil's ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a graft scandal at state oil firm Petrobras has reignited opposition hopes of unseating his successor Dilma Rousseff and increased the risk she may not finish her term.

The federal police's decision to take Lula in for questioning on Friday raised the temperature of Brazil's political crisis on the streets, with demonstrators for and against the ruling Workers' Party clashing outside his home in the outskirts of Sao Paulo.

Rousseff's opponents now expect a larger turnout for a national protest on March 13 to rally support for their efforts to impeach the president or get her 2014 re-election overturned.

The main opposition party, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), has asked Congress to impeach Rousseff and said it plans to add accusations made by prosecutors that Rousseff benefited from the Petrobras bribes and political kickbacks.

"The Rousseff government is over," PSDB leader in the Senate, Cassio Cunha Lima, told reporters. "The latest revelations show the country urgently needs a constitutional way out of this deepening crisis, either through impeachment or new elections."

Expectations that Rousseff might fall from power, ushering in changes in economic policy that pull Brazil from its worst recession in decades, drove Brazil's stock market and currency to the highest in at least six months.

For a second day in a row, Rousseff called an emergency meeting of her political advisors to limit the damage from the sprawling investigation, a presidential aide said.

On Thursday, media reports that a Workers' Party senator had linked her to corruption in a plea bargain with prosecutors had sent shockwaves through the government.   Continuación...