Brazilians call for president to resign after graft charges

Earlier plans to host a dinner for the allies were dropped due to lukewarm responses, Folha newspaper reported in yet another indication of Temer's struggle to retain authority.

The calls for Temer to resign have been joined by Globo, the flagship paper of Brazil's biggest media company, which had been supporting the president's legislative program to boost an economy mired in its worst recession in decades.

Temer, visibly defiant, said he would ask the court to suspend the investigation against him until it could determine whether the recording, made by the chairman of meatpacker JBS SA during a March conversation, was edited afterwards.

"Brazil will not be derailed", he said during a speech at the presidential palace, reiterating that he would not resign despite an ongoing investigation authorized by the Supreme Court into allegations he took bribes and condoned the payment of hush money to a jailed congressman. The Supreme Court has agreed to examine his demand for the investigation to be suspended on Wednesday. He spearheaded the impeachment push against President Dilma Rousseff past year, which eventually ousted her, and paved the way for Temer, who was her vice president, to assume power.

The council of Brazil's Order of Lawyers (OAB by its Brazilian acronym) voted 25-1 in favor of an impeachment hearing, and will file its request in the lower house of Congress in coming days, it said Sunday.

In 2016, the legal body also called for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. "We want Temer to leave but we don't want an indirectly elected president", he told supporters at Sao Bernardo do Campo, near Sao Paulo.

A demonstrator holds a photo of Brazil's President Michel Temer that reads in Spanish "Get out Satan!" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

The left, long angered by Temer's role in engineering the impeachment of Rousseff and his subsequent attempt to push through economic austerity reforms, has seized on the sudden corruption scandal as an opportunity for payback.

Finance minister Henrique Meirelles ex central banker and ex JBS chair of the board has been named as a possible successor to Temer
Finance minister Henrique Meirelles ex central banker and ex JBS chair of the board has been named as a possible successor to Temer

For now, Temer's fate appears to lie principally with Congress where his center-right PMDB party has a powerful alliance with the PSDB and numerous partners. Meanwhile, 88 percent support Temer's impeachment, resignation, or his removal by the Supreme Court.

Soon before Temer spoke, the Brazilian Socialist Party announced it was breaking from his coalition.

Brasilia is buzzing with speculation over whether the parties in his ruling coalition will decide to jump from a sinking ship or instead rally around Temer.

Addressing the crowd, city councilor Eduardo Suplicy pointed to hypocrisy of Temer, who had not delivered on his pledge to quit if someone in his government was accused of corruption.

The PSDB has four ministers, and with 47 lower house deputies and 10 senators it represents an important voting bloc both for approving reforms - and, if comes to that, for deciding on impeachment.

Scores of politicians have been indicted or subjected to probes into alleged bribe-taking and embezzlement, with Temer only the latest to be pulled into the maelstrom.

This came after authorities released what they said was a secretly recorded conversation between Temer and a business executive in which the president is purported to have given his blessing to monthly payments of hush money to a jailed politician.

Cunha is serving a sentence after a corruption conviction.

  • Leroy Wright