BRASILIA (Reuters) – One of four ministers representing a centrist Brazilian party in President Michel Temer’s government resigned on Monday, underscoring a rift between the embattled leader and one of his most powerful coalition partners.

Bruno Araujo said in a resignation letter that while he respected the autonomy Temer had given him as head of the Ministry of Cities, his Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) no longer supported him remaining in the position.

An intense internal debate within the PSDB is playing out, with younger lawmakers urging it to abandon the scandal-plagued Temer government and elders countering that support should be maintained to provide the stability for the nation.

In late October, however, government sources told Reuters that Temer planned to shuffle his cabinet and to push out PSDB members after a majority of its lawmakers in the lower house of Congress voted to put him on trial on allegations of corruption. Temer managed to avoid a trial.

Members of the PSDB have said that while they support the economic reforms of the Temer government, they now consider him to be too fragile a leader to attempt an overhaul of the country’s pension system, a move that is viewed as key to plugging the government’s budget deficit.

The PSDB also plans to stand its own candidate for the presidential election next October, and many of its members want to distance themselves from the deeply unpopular Temer government to better their chances at the polls.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Editing by Paul Simao

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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