Brazil party set to abandon Rousseff, eyes presidency
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA, March 28 (Reuters) - Brazil's largest party will decide on Tuesday to break away from President Dilma Rousseff's floundering coalition, party leaders said, sharply raising the odds she will be impeached amid a corruption scandal.
The fractious Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) will decide at its national leadership meeting on the pace of disengagement from the Rousseff administration, in which it holds seven ministerial posts and the vice presidency.
A formal rupture appears inevitable and will increase the isolation of the unpopular Rousseff, freeing PMDB members to vote for her impeachment.
That makes it likely she will be temporarily suspended from office by Congress by early June and replaced by Vice President Michel Temer, leader of the PMDB, while the Senate decides if she should be permanently ousted.
Temer aides said the vice president is ready to take over and move fast to restore business confidence in Brazil, in an effort to pull Latin America's largest economy out of a tailspin. Brazilian media reported over the weekend that a team of Temer aides is drawing up a plan for his first weeks as president.
"On Tuesday we will be disembarking from this government. The vote for independence will win," PMDB Senator Valdir Raupp, who until recently had backed Rousseff, said by telephone.
Raupp said PMDB ministers would have to resign or leave the party, though a gradual withdrawal from those posts may take place as a compromise to keep the party united.
Party officials calculate that between 70 to 80 percent of the 119 voting members of the directorate will vote to end the PMDB's alliance with Rousseff and her Workers' Party. One told Reuters that 75 had already pledged to do so. Continuación...