The vice president of Brazil, Michel Temer, admitted publicly “differences” inside the administration of President Dilma Rousseff following a serious, ‘loud voice’ exchange he had with cabinet chief and political coordinator Antonio Palocci who is under investigation for overnight enrichment.
“The situation now is most calm,” said Temer, who was acting president while Dilma Rousseff left early Monday for a one day official visit to neighboring Uruguay.
Temer belongs to PMDB, the party with most votes and a crucial ally of the ruling Workers Party in congress since they hold key posts and have sufficient votes to ensure a comfortable working majority plus dominating the Senate.
The situation apparently was triggered because of the lack of dialogue with President Dilma Rousseff, and most recently the investigation into the assets of Palocci and his life style including a flat in São Paulo which he rents for US$ 9.000 per month.
The leading newspaper Folha de S. Paulo revealed that Palocci’s assets multiplied by 20 in four years and that his consulting company in 2010 did business for the equivalent of US$ 12.5 million.
Temer in an interview with Folha said he received a phone call from Palocci who in a “veiled threat” said that if the PMDB did not support the Forest Code currently under discussion in the Lower House, (which they did not), President Rousseff would begin firing PMDB ministers from the cabinet.
“The discussion was tense, I admit I raised my voice, but there was no offensive language,” said Temer who following the skirmish with Palocci received a phone call from president Rousseff requesting to put an end to the whole incident.
Temer added that apparently Rousseff was cautioned by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva “to try and mend relations with the PMDB and recover the political initiative.”
He added that with President Rousseff he agreed to hold three meetings this week: a “smiling picture” early morning Monday at the Air Force base before the president left for Uruguay; a private meeting on Tuesday and lunch on Thursday with all the PMDB Senators included those considered “rebels.”
The clash with the government was evident last week when the Lower House with the support from the PMDB voted for an amendment in the Forest Code, which limits the Federal government monopoly to determine and regulate those areas considered of “permanent preservation.”
The spat escalated when President Rousseff feeling she had been cheated given the pre-accord to vote the code as it was sent by the Executive, let it be known she would veto those articles she considers erred if the situation was not reversed in the Senate.
During the Lower House discussion which also included an amnesty for those accused of illegal timbering further irritated the Executive. The leader of the Workers party, speaking in the name of president Rousseff said that she considered the amendments introduced “shameful for Brazil.”