Brazil: Impeachment vote against Rousseff set for Monday

Brazil: Impeachment vote against Rousseff set for Monday

Thursday, April 7, 2016 7:46 am

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

A Brazilian legislative committee has scheduled a vote next week on whether to pursue impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.

The vote is set for next Monday by the 65-member Special Impeachment Committee of the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of parliament).

A simple majority is required for the vote to pass.

If the motion to impeach Rousseff clears the committee, it will be presented to the lower house of parliament, which will decide whether to send the proceedings to the Senate or shelve the case.

At least 342 of the 513 votes in the lower house of parliament are needed for passing the motion to the senate.

On Monday, Brazil’s Attorney General Jose Eduardo Cardozo, in presenting Rousseff’s defense, said the call to impeach the president had no legal basis and was “tainted” by political “revenge.”

Meanwhile, Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer may also  face an impeachment process similar to what was brought against his boss, President Dilma Rousseff.

Federal Supreme Court (STF) Judge Marco Aurelio Mello has ruled that the Chamber of Deputies should follow up a legal motion to pursue judicial proceedings against Temer.

The president of the chamber, Eduardo Cunha, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), to which Temer also belongs, said Tuesday he would appeal Mello’s decision and ignore the ruling until the full court issues an opinion.

Rousseff, a member of Brazil’s Workers’ Party (PT), came to power with the help of the PMDB, which joined forces with the PT and other left-leaning parties to form the ruling coalition.

The two parties have since had a falling-out, as an economic slowdown and a corruption scandal undermined Rousseff’s popularity, and emboldened the conservative opposition to try to impeach her.

The PMDB, the main coalition partner for the PT, announced on March 29 that it was pulling out and would support impeachment against Rousseff.

In December, Cunha, as head of the chamber, gave the green light to proceedings against Rousseff, but shelved the case against her vice president.

Tuesday’s ruling obliges Cunha to set up a special legislative committee to investigate whether there are legal grounds to bring Temer to trial, similar to the committee he created to look into Rousseff’s alleged wrongdoing.

The president’s political opponents claim her government embellished the public accounts to make the state’s finances appear healthier prior to the presidential elections that handed her a second term.

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