BRASILIA Dec 12 President Michel Temer,
fighting for survival over corruption allegations against him
and his government, is planning new measures to jump start a
stalled economy, improve his dismal approval ratings and stifle
calls for his resignation.
The stimulus measures, to be unveiled this week, include
steps to relieve indebted consumers and also force credit card
companies to pay businesses faster than the current 30 days,
government sources said on Monday.
Temer is gambling the micro-economic measures will counter
discontent over his failure to deliver on his promise to recover
Latin America's largest economy from a two-year recession.
Brazil's Senate is expected to give final approval on
Tuesday to a 20-year spending cap that is the centerpiece of the
president's plan to restore fiscal discipline.
But fallout from more corruption allegations in the sweeping
probe into kickbacks at state-run oil company Petrobras
could complicate passage of pension reforms needed to
bring Brazil's budget deficit under control.
Six months after he took over from impeached leftist Dilma
Rousseff, Temer's political survival is threatened by
accusations that he, members of his Cabinet and his party's
leaders received under-the-table payments from engineering
Odebrecht, the company prosecutors say benefited the most
from the Petrobras scam, agreed to a leniency deal with federal
prosecutors that requires 77 of its executives and employees to
turn state's witness and likely implicate over 200 politicians.
In the first leaked testimony, one Odebrecht executive
alleged that Temer requested 10 million reais ($3 million) for
his PMDB party's 2014 election campaign.
Disapproval of Temer's government rose to 51 percent from 31
percent in July, according to a Datafolha poll published on
Sunday. More worrying for Temer, 63 percent of those polled said
they would like to see him resign and new elections held.
Temer also hopes to strengthen his Cabinet by giving the
centrist PSDB party a larger role. Several PSDB senators were
involved in shaping the stimulus package.
The PSDB is Brazil's third-largest party and already holds
three cabinet positions, and it could greatly help Temer get his
measures passed in Congress.
The Eurasia political risk consultancy raised its odds of
Temer falling from 10 percent to 20 percent last week, but saw
little impact from the first Odebrecht plea bargain allegations.
"The risk of Temer falling has increased, but it still
remains low," Eurasia said in a note to clients.
(Editing by Alan Crosby)