Brazil's Rousseff resumes talks with Lula on Cabinet post

miércoles 16 de marzo de 2016 09:14 GYT
 

BRASILIA, March 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff resumed talks on Wednesday morning with her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on him taking up a Cabinet post following inconclusive discussions late on Tuesday.

Presidential aides said on Tuesday that Lula had decided to accept a ministerial position, a move that would also offer him protection in the short term from prosecutors who have charged him with money laundering and fraud.

Reporters at the Alvorada presidential residence said Finance Minister Nelson Barbosa had also joined the meeting, along with other members of her inner circle.

Rousseff is trying to bolster her government amid a storm of corruption allegations that threaten to topple it by naming the charismatic Lula to her Cabinet with the task of keeping her coalition together and averting impeachment by Congress.

Lula's return to Brasilia on Tuesday was overshadowed by a barrage of fresh corruption accusations by Senator Delcídio do Amaral, a close Workers' Party ally of the president until he was arrested last year.

In plea bargain testimony, Amaral said Rousseff knew about the massive graft scheme at state-oil company Petrobras and one of her ministers had tried to buy his silence.

Rousseff's popularity has been pummeled by Brazil's worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and the spreading corruption investigation focused on Petrobras.

More than a million people marched in demonstrations across Brazil on Sunday, calling for Rousseff's impeachment and voicing support for the investigations into kickbacks by contractors to political leaders in exchange for work with Petrobras.

The Supreme Court will meet on Wednesday to decide on the rules of the impeachment process that was launched against Rousseff in December by her political archenemy in the lower chamber of Congress, Speaker Eduardo Cunha.

Cunha's PMDB party is Rousseff's main coalition partner which is moving closer to breaking with a president they blame for running Brazil's economy into the ground, but are divided over her impeachment.

Cunha said this week he plans to speed up the process with the appointment of an impeachment committee as soon as the Supreme Court sets the rules. (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassú and Anthony Boadle Editing by W Simon)