Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff’s handling of her cabinet chief Antonio Palocci crisis has come under heavy flack from the opposition who warns that her image has been tarnished and that she is being eclipsed by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
“Lula is back again in politics operating with his usual scorn for principles,” with the sole purpose of impeding the fall of Palocci, said former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso and a reference leader for the opposition.
Palocci has been accused of having multiplied his assets by 20 in less than three years allegedly taking advantage of his condition as campaign organizer for then presidential candidate Rousseff.
“President Dilma, don’t let your chance run by, mark your own style of government, different from Lula’s,” said Cardoso in a column published in Rio’s daily newspaper O Globo.
The heads of the main opposition party, PSDB, in the two houses of the Brazilian congress are demanding the naming of a commission to investigate Palocci’s alleged “influence peddling” to which the ruling Workers Party and its honorary president Lula da Silva refuse.
Former president Cardoso virtually accused Dilma of being a ‘puppet’ manipulated by her ‘master’ Lula who apparently is conducting the political defense of Palocci, whose resignation is being demanded by the opposition and other influential organization such as the Solicitors Association of Brazil.
On Sunday the São Paulo press published that President Rousseff had called on Lula to consult him on the crisis triggered in government by the corruption claims against Palocci.
“Dilma will be consulting Lula before deciding whether to dismiss Palocci,” published Folha de Sao Paulo on Sunday.
The former leader, who last week visited Venezuela and Cuba, is expected in Brasília for the second time in less than two weeks because of the Palocci crisis.
Lula who stepped down last January first and was the mentor of Ms Rousseff promised at the time to remain distant from the political activities of the new administration so as not to cast shadows.
In 2010 when Palocci was head of Dilma’s campaign, his consulting company received US$ 10 million for services to different private companies according to a disclosure from the São Paulo media.
In an interview Palocci admitted the contracts and sums involved but would not disclose the names of the companies because of ‘confidentiality’ reasons.
In 2006 Palocci was forced to resign as Finance minister of President Lula for his involvement in a corruption scheme to skim funds from private companies to help ‘convince’ lawmakers to support the Executive’s bills in Congress.
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