LISBON (Reuters) - Brazil’s vice president has dismissed the possibility that President Dilma Rousseff could soon be impeached for breaking fiscal responsibility laws, telling a Portuguese newspaper that the case against her was just in its early stages.
A ruling by Brazil’s Federal Audit Court on April 15 said her government had postponed transfers to state banks last year to make Brazil’s fiscal accounts look better. Opposition leaders said last week this was grounds for impeachment.
But Vice President Michel Temer told Diario Economico during a visit to Portugal: “I believe there is no danger to the president.”
Temer chairs the centrist PMDB party, which controls both houses of Brazil’s Congress and is part of the ruling coalition with Rousseff’s leftist Workers’ Party.
The ruling was not enough to build an impeachment case against the president and legal proceedings would anyway take years, Temer said.
“It was the first conclusion by the Audit Court, the process is still in embryonic phase,” Temer said.
“If one day some very serious fact emerges opening this possibility, then OK. But now we are talking about a report, which will be examined, clarified, there will be room for defense. This process takes a lot of time, three or four years.”
The issue adds to the Brazilian government’s troubles over a corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras.
An opinion poll this month showed that almost two thirds of Brazilians favor Rousseff’s impeachment over the Petrobras scandal and thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest against her government.
Temer is in Portugal to discuss bilateral ties and support the participation of Brazilian companies in the privatization of Portugal’s airline TAP, as well as a deal by Brazil’s Embraer EMBR3.SA to sell military transport planes to Portugal.
Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by Angus MacSwan