Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's chief of staff quit on Thursday over an ethics
scandal, in a bid to stave off possible damage to Lula's front-running
candidate in Brazil's presidential election next month.
Guerra, whose role as cabinet chief is an influential post in the Lula
government, had come under growing pressure to step down over allegations that
she was involved in a kickback scheme for public works contracts.
badly in opinion polls, main opposition candidate Jose Serra
has sought to link the scandal to ruling party contender Dilma Rousseff, who
preceded Guerra as Lula's chief of staff before launching her campaign.
holds a wide lead in polls ahead of the Oct 3 election and remains on course to
win a majority of votes in the first round of voting, despite the allegations
that she condoned unethical conduct by her leftist Workers' Party.
has been accused of influence peddling and helping her son's consultancy skim
money from public contracts, including while she was Rousseff's advisor before
becoming chief of staff.
Rousseff has not been directly linked to any wrongdoing, which analysts say
makes it unlikely the scandals will cut her lead.
chances that it forces a second round are still rather small. The opposition
would have to be very skilled to exploit this incident," said Amaury de
Souza, a Rio de Janeiro-based political analyst.
corruption scandals so far didn't change voter preference except among those
with higher education or income. That is insufficient to change the odds."
resignation could even boost Rousseff's support if it is seen by voters as a
decisive move to purge an official involved in corruption, said Jose Luciano
Dias, a political analyst with CAC consultancy in Brasilia. "Dilma will
even win some votes. The government will say they investigated and took
action," he said.