Global Independent Analytics

Brazil impeachment: Vote deals new blow to Rousseff

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has suffered a blow to her hopes of staving off impeachment proceedings, after a committee voted they should go ahead

BBC reports: The 65-member congressional committee voted 38 to 27 to recommend impeachment over claims she manipulated government accounts to hide a growing deficit. All eyes will now be on a full vote in the lower house on 17 or 18 April. The issue has divided Brazil, with police preparing for mass protests in the capital, Brasilia. The vote on the impeachment occurred amidst chaotic scenes with members of Congress screaming at each other during the nationally broadcasted proceedings. Supporters and opponents of President Rousseff were waving placards and shouting slogans.

Analysts say that the committee’s vote is critical, and it demonstrated how much support there is for the impeachment process ahead of the crucial vote in the full lower house of Congress. If the lower House votes for an impeachment by two-thirds, the Senate would then have the power to suspend Ms Rousseff and put her on trial.

Wyre Davies continues: recent months were rather hard for President Rousseff, and her rating has experienced a significant decline after she has been hit by a faltering economy and a damaging corruption scandal focused on the state-controlled oil giant Petrobras, which has implicated several senior politicians and business leaders.

Although opinion polls clearly demonstrate that vast majority of Brazilians support the impeachment, Ms Rousseff, and her supporters contend that she was not formally charged for her dealing with Petrobras and that the proceedings in Congress amount to a parliamentary coup. Attorney General Jose Eduardo Cordozo, speaking for Rousseff, added that the impeachment process was ‘flawed’ and said that "It is absurd to dismiss a president who has not committed crimes, nor stolen a penny. And such a process without crime or fraud, would be a coup.” On the other hand, opposition lawmaker Vanderlei Macris claimed that an impeachment currently is highly important for the country and the society.

The Brazilian president faces a battle to stay in power:

  • 513 members of the lower house of Congress
  • 342 votes needed to move process to the Senate
  • 41 senators out of 81 must vote in favour to begin impeachment trial
  • 180 days she could be suspended for during the hearings

On Monday night, a series of rallies in support of President Rousseff hit the streets of Rio de Janeiro with former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaking against impeachment and calling the congressional committee vote ‘unimportant.'

In case President Rousseff is impeached, Vice President Michel Temer would take over temporarily. But it seems that he acted somewhat prematurely by issuing a statement in which he accepted the post. However, later his spokesperson admitted that the statement was sent out erroneously. The BBC’s Wyre Davis added that Mr Temer may also face impeachment proceedings as he is also charged with money laundering in connection with Petrobras.

The author of the article provides a scheme of what happens next:

“Lower house vote: An impeachment vote is expected in the lower house on either Sunday or Monday. A two-thirds majority is required for it to go forward to the Senate. Latest surveys suggest the number in favour is short of the total needed to carry the motion.

Senate vote on trial: If Ms Rousseff case is sent to the Senate, a simple majority is enough to suspend her for up to 180 days while she is put on trial. Vice-President Michel Temer would step in during this period.

Impeachment vote: For Ms Rousseff to be removed from office permanently, two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote in favour. Mr Temer would remain president for an interim period should this happen.”

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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