October 27, 2017 / 7:49 PM / a year ago

Brazil's Temer to shuffle cabinet in March, main ally out - source

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Michel Temer will shuffle his cabinet in March and likely exclude members of his main allied party after many of its lawmakers turned against him this week, a senior government source said on Friday.

Brazil's President Michel Temer arrives to a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

The source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said he did not expect the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) to be part of the future government.

The reshuffle follows the biggest revolt yet against Temer’s 13-month government when the majority of PSDB lower-house deputies on Wednesday voted to put him on trial over corruption charges.

The PSDB plans to field its own presidential candidate next year and may well quit Temer’s coalition of its own accord as the elections draw closer, the source said.

Though the lower house voted to shelve a corruption case against Temer, the upheaval in his ruling coalition is likely to derail Temer’s plans to plug a budget deficit to help Brazil recover from its worst ever recession.

The planned cabinet changes will take place as ministers have to leave the cabinet by April to run in October elections.

Smaller allied parties have asked Temer to eject the PSDB from his government. It currently holds four cabinet posts.

The source said Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes, a member of the PSDB, might stay on even if his party leaves the government.

Temer, whose popularity is at rock bottom, has no plans to run for re-election. His centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), Brazil’s largest, has generally entered governments through coalitions with other parties and rarely fielded its own presidential candidate.

Government officials expect the economy to pick up and grow at 3 percent by mid-2018, which would improve the PDMB’s chances should it choose to do so.

Such a candidate would likely be someone from outside the party and have to be untarnished by the corruption scandals battering Brazil’s political class, the source said.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Lisandra Paraguassú; Editing by Sandra Maler and Andrew Hay

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