Brazil's sports minister has resigned amid a widening political crisis just five months before Rio de Janeiro hosts the Olympic Games. Embattled President Dilma Rousseff is losing support from coalition partners.
Rousseff struggled to hold on to her coalition on Wednesday after Brazil's biggest party quit the bloc, complicating her fight to fend off impeachment proceedings.
Sports Minister George Hilton resigned and will be replaced in the interim by Ricardo Leyser, who has acted a liaison between the federal government and the Summer Olympics.
Rousseff indicated she plans to use posts vacated to strengthen her support from the six parties that remain in the governing coalition with her left-leaning Workers' Party.
She has labeled the impeachment process, over allegations her administration violated fiscal rules, as an attempted 'putsch.' She said she did not commit any crime that would warrant her ousting.
"What we're discussing is impeachment without responsibility for a crime, and without responsibility for a crime. That's a coup," Rousseff said to a crowd of enthusiastic supporters who chanted: "There won't be a coup!"
The impeachment proceedings have been filed against Rousseff for allegedly breaking budget rules in 2014 to cover up the extent of Brazil's economic recession.
Political turmoil ahead of Olympics
Rousseff's popularity continues to plummet amid a sprawling corruption scandal at state-run oil giant Petrobras that has been moving closer to her inner circle.
A former chairwoman of Petrobras' board, Rousseff has not been implicated in the alleged bribery scheme, which prosecutors call the biggest ever uncovered in Brazil.
A poll released Wednesday spells trouble for Rousseff. Out of roughly 2,000 Brazilians quizzed earlier this month, just 10 percent had a favorable opinion of their president.
jar/jr (AP, AFP)