June 19, 2013
Brazil tourism minister quits, fifth this year
Brazil's tourism minister resigned on Wednesday over allegations of ethics violations, the office of the vice-president said, becoming the fifth minister to leave President Dilma Rousseff's government this year.
Pedro Novais' resignation is a reminder of the political volatility that has undermined Rousseff's administration as she struggles to contain unrest within her ruling coalition stemming partly from a fiscal belt-tightening.
In the latest allegation against him, Novais was accused in newspaper reports this week of having used public funds to employ a maid and a chauffeur for his wife while he was congressman from 2003 to 2010.
Novais, who had already made headlines for allegedly having claimed payments made at a sex motel as official expenses, was due to release a statement later on Wednesday.
He is a member of the PMDB party, the largest of Rousseff's coalition partners.
Budget cuts ordered by Rousseff earlier this year to stem inflation have starved lawmakers of funds and aggravated a series of ethics scandals that have resulted in the resignation of five ministers in just over three months.
Novais' departure is unlikely to significantly change Brazil's preparations for the 2014 soccer World Cup or the Olympics to be hosted in Rio de Janeiro two years later.