2016 Rio Olympics: Brazil sport minister 'likely' to quit

Sport Minister George Hilton's job has been under threat since his party, PRB, quit President Dilma Rousseff's embattled coalition a week ago.

AFP| Updated: Mar 24, 2016, 12:18 PM IST
2016 Rio Olympics: Brazil sport minister 'likely' to quit

Rio De Janeiro: Brazil's sport minister is likely to resign in the fallout of a raging political crisis, government sources said on Wednesday, just over four months from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Sport Minister George Hilton's job has been under threat since his party, the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), quit President Dilma Rousseff's embattled coalition a week ago.

It is "very likely" that Hilton will have to resign, a cabinet source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Hilton was a no-show on Tuesday at a scheduled meeting on the Olympic planning process in Rio.

The PRB abandoned the ruling coalition after huge anti-government protests by Brazilians outraged over an explosive corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras and a deep recession.

Seeking to keep his post, Hilton quit the PRB and joined a smaller coalition partner, the Republican Party of Social Order (PROS).

But Rousseff's chief of staff, Jaques Wagner, said yesterday that the PROS is not entitled to ministerial positions under the coalition deal.

Wagner said, he did not have "definitive information" on Hilton's departure, but that if he quit, "it would be opportune to give the ministry to Ricardo Leyser, of the PC do B (the Communist Party of Brazil), who has been following the whole process of the Olympics from the beginning."

Leyser is currently secretary of state for high-level sport. He is considered the government's point man on organising the Olympics, which open in Rio on August 5.

Olympic preparations have largely fallen from the spotlight in Brazil as Rousseff fights for her political survival in the face of impeachment proceedings and the splintering of her coalition.