Brazilian President's situation fragile after report of bribe-taking

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The situation of Brazilian President Michel Temer has become delicate on Thursday following a newspaper report that he is accused of taking bribes and endorsing bribes to silence a witness in a corruption case.

When the news broke on Wednesday evening, opponents started to call for Temer's resignation or impeachment.

Temer released a statement late Wednesday, denying all accusations. He also told allied lawmakers that he would not be driven from office.

Local media reported that he is unwilling to resign, but may not get enough support to continue in the government. Analysts said Temer is unlikely to receive support from a significant share of his coalition, who were afraid of attaching themselves to an administration already being regarded as doomed.

Meanwhile, Temer's latest approval rate was staggering four percent.

According to O Globo newspaper, Temer was recorded in a conversation with Joesley Batista, chairman of meat company JBS SA, who then presented the recording to the court.

In the recordings, Temer reportedly endorsed Batista's bribes to former head of House of Representatives Eduardo Cunha in exchange for Cunha's silence.

Cunha was arrested for several counts of corruption last year, and threatened to tell the authorities what he knew about corruption schemes and bribery in the government.

In addition, Temer was also recorded indicating federal deputy Rodrigo Rocha Loures to "solve some issues" for JBS SA. Loures was then filmed receiving 500,000 reals (160,000 U.S. dollars) in bribes from Batista.

If Temer resigns or is impeached, House of Representatives Speaker Rodrigo Maia will take over as acting President until the presidential election is called.

[ Editor: meng ]


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