Brazil’s lower house speaker resigns after leading anti-Rousseff efforts
The embattled speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress Eduardo Cunha has resigned less than three months after he orchestrated the impeachment of suspended President Dilma Rousseff.
Cunha announced his resignation on Thursday, claiming he had become the target of political opponents for starting the process to impeach Rousseff, who has been suspended since May 12.
The senior politician has been under investigation by the Supreme Court for alleged corruption, intimidation of lawmakers, obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
He had already been suspended as speaker earlier this year on charges of accepting bribe. He reportedly hid $5 million in illegal kickbacks in a secret Swiss bank account.
Cunha, however, denied any wrongdoing and described his treatment as cruel and inhuman.
“Only my resignation can put an end to this endless instability. The lower house cannot bear to wait forever,” he said.
The congressman started the impeachment process against Rousseff last December; a process which led to the suspension of the president and left the Latin American country in a political turmoil.
Rousseff is also under fire over a graft scandal at state oil company Petrobras, where she was the manager before taking office as president in 2010.
However, Rousseff has denied the allegations against her as politically-motivated, accusing the opposition of orchestrating a coup.
“Cunha was very functional in destroying Dilma, now he is being destroyed,” the Guardian quoted former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso as saying.
He was a leading member in the center-right coalition of interim President Michel Temer.
With less than two months in office, Temer has seen three of his ministers resign for corruption allegations.
His government, engulfed by scandals stemming from a corruption investigation at Petrobras, now is threatened by Cunha, who has warned Temer that if he goes to prison, he will not go alone, according to domestic media.