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Support for impeaching Brazil's president rises to 68 percent - poll

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff attends a news conference at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A growing majority of Brazilians favor impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff or her resignation, according to a survey released on Saturday by polling firm Datafolha.

The poll showed 68 percent of respondents favor Rousseff’s impeachment by Congress, while 65 percent think the president should resign. The president’s approval ratings have been hammered by Brazil’s worst recession in decades and its biggest ever corruption probe.

Rousseff’s popularity also fell, with 69 percent of respondents rating her government negatively. The current percentage is close to the president’s lowest ratings on record, in August 2015, when 71 percent of respondents rated the government negatively.

The poll also showed that rejection levels for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was named as Rousseff’s chief of staff on Wednesday, rose to a record 57 percent. That is far higher than the previous high of 40 percent in September 1994, before his 2003-2010 presidency.

A Supreme Court judge suspended Lula’s appointment on Friday, saying it might interfere with an investigation by prosecutors, who have charged him with money laundering and fraud, as part of the probe into political kick back scheme at state oil company Petrobras.

Even if Brazilians support Rousseff’s ouster, voters are not enthusiastic about a government led by vice-president Michel Temer. Some 35 percent of respondents say his government would be “bad” or “terrible”.

Datafolha surveyed 2,794 people on March 17 and 18.

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by David Gregorio