Calls for Brazil's president to resign or be impeached grow


They signed a giant banner with messages, such as, "Out with Temer" and "I want a better Brazil".

Leftist groups plan protests across Brazil on Sunday to demand the resignation of President Michel Temer and the holding of new elections in the wake of an explosive corruption scandal. Brazil's political crisis deepened sharply on Thursday with corruption allegations that threatened to topple the.

"This does not reduce the political crisis and does not improve Temer's situation", said Paulo Baía, a professor of political science at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, describing the president's strategy as trying to disqualify his accuser and the evidence that Batista provided about Temer.

There was some good news for Temer, however. The scandal has sparked multiple calls for Temer's resignation.

Brazil's President Michel Temer reacts as he speaks at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, May 18, 2017.

Temer is suggesting that an audio that purportedly recorded him supporting hush money for an ex-lawmaker has been doctored. Janot earlier this month obtained Supreme Court authorization to investigate Temer, according to court documents made public on Friday.

Two big newspapers, Estadao and Folha, first raised the question of whether the audio had been tampered with in articles Saturday that quoted forensic experts.

Temer's office has acknowledged that in March the president met with Joesley Batista, chairman of the JBS meatpacking company. He accused Batista of buying "large quantities of dollars to cause chaos on the exchange market" before giving the tape to prosecutors.

Mr Temer's claims about the audio and Mr Batista could not be immediately verified.

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On Wednesday O Globo newspaper reported on some of the evidence used by Janot, which allegedly revealed that Temer approved hush money for Eduardo Cunha, the jailed former house speaker and mastermind behind last year's impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff.

Temer was former President Dilma Rousseff's deputy and came to power when she was ousted for illegally managing the federal budget.

Temer's remarks were unlikely to have much impact on the spreading movement for him to resign.

In the audio released to the media, Batista is heard to say that he is looking to have his company receive favours from government ministries, that he is in contact with prosecutors who are informing him about investigations and that he is bribing Cunha to keep him from entering into a plea-bargain arrangement. On Saturday, the Brazilian Socialist Party announced it was switching to join the opposition.

Several parties from Temer's ruling coalition will meet later on Sunday to discuss whether they will leave the government.

Although Temer faces a perilous investigation in the Supreme Court, his more immediate danger is a collapse of his base in Congress, opening the way to impeachment. In another, Temer is accused of pocking about $350,000 of $4.5 million in illegal campaign finance channeled by the Workers' Party for the 2014 presidential ticket that included Temer as vice presidential candidate.

The accusations against President Michel Temer have plunged Latin America's largest nation into crisis yet again, sending its currency and stocks plummeting and stalling a series of reforms created to pull the economy out of a protracted recession. The company generally wields significant influence among Brazilians because of its popular soap operas and media dominance.

"Not one citizen conscious of the obligations of citizenship can fail to recognize that the president has lost the moral, ethical, political and administrative conditions to continue governing Brazil", the editorial said.

The charges by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot were a major escalation in the threat to Temer's presidency, and represented an extraordinary development in a three-year-old corruption probe that is upending politics and just about everything else in Latin America's largest nation.