Vote-Buying Scandal Makes First Victim in Brazilian Congress

The leader of a junior party of the Brazilian ruling coalition was forced to step down Monday when he publicly admitted having received money from President Lula da Silva’s Workers Party, PT.

Valdemar Costa Neto leader of the Liberal Party revealed before Congress that he was fully responsible for taking money from the PT to pay for electoral campaign expenses, but flatly rejected payments were used for other purposes such as “bribes” for votes.


“It was a mistake to have accepted financial resources for the electoral campaign without the documents to prove the donation was official; I announce that I give up my federal deputy mandate,” said Mr. Costa Neto.


“I assume complete and sole responsibility for this act. This means no other member of the Liberal Party was involved or can be made responsible for what was decided or done exclusively by myself,” emphasized the Liberal Party leader.


Actually Mr. Costa Neto self sacrifice can be interpreted as targeted to protect none less than fellow Liberal vice president and Defense Minister José Alencar, the man who constitutionally succeeds President Lula da Silva.


Mr. Costa Neto is the first member of Congress to resign over the scandal although five senior Workers Party officials have stepped down including former Cabinet Chief and President Lula’s closest advisor José Dirceu.


Lower House president Severino Cavalcanti praised Mr. Costa Neto bravery, “he admitted having committed a mistake and he is paying for it”.


However, Senator Arthur Virgilio Neto leader of the opposition PSDB, Brazilian Social Democracy, forecasted that “we’re in the twilight of a season of massive Congressional resignations,” which will unequivocally prove that “the Workers Party effectively bribed Congress members”.


So far, President Lula da Silva’s public opinion standing has not been badly damaged by the allegations but the Workers Party has proved to be “just another political party” according to 47% of mistrustful Brazilians interviewed in a public opinion poll published in Sunday’s newspapers.


This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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