Brazilian vice-president criticized over leaked audio message

Updated: 2016-04-12 14:50


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Brazilian vice-president criticized over leaked audio message

Brazil's Vice President Michel Temer speaks during a news conference in Brasilia, Brazil April 11, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian Vice-President Michel Temer, who was caught in a leaked audio talking as if President Dilma Rousseff had already been impeached, was criticized by government officials on Monday.

Temer rehearsed a speech to the nation, making it appear as if Temer believed the impeachment of Rousseff a foregone conclusion.

Temer said that the audio message was an answer to inquiries of political allies about what he would do if he takes over, adding that he sent the message to the wrong person, and it reached the press.

Jaques Wagner, chief of staff of Rousseff's presidential office, said Temer was a dissimulated sponsor of the impeachment against Rousseff.

The audio message shows that Temer forgot his institutional role, Wagner said.

"The records revealed today show that the vice president, without any problems, forgets his institutional role, despises the ritual of his position and openly sponsors a dissimulated coup," Wagner said.

"But no coup will produce national union, as it is an offense to democracy," Wagner said.

Government Secretary Ricardo Berzoini said the leak evidenced the "coup-like" character of Temer, and the message left him "flabbergasted".

"This audio shows the coup-like character of the vice-president. He transformed the process in an indirect election, to get votes in favor of the impeachment," Berzoini said.

Temer of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), a partner of the ruling coalition, said in the rehearsal: "Now that the Chamber of Deputies has decided by a significant vote to authorize the start of the impeachment process against the president, the great mission, as of this moment, is the pacification of the country, the reunification of the country."

By the time of the rehearsal, a congressional impeachment committee had yet to decide whether to proceed with the impeachment.

The committee voted later Monday to go ahead. A full-chamber vote would take place on Sunday. Two-thirds of the chamber would have to vote in favor for the motion to move on to the Senate for a final decision.

Temer has been regarded as the mastermind behind the PMDB's announcement last month to leave the ruling coalition, a key move toward the impeachment of Rousseff.