Brazil Senate to vote on President Dilma Rousseff impeachment

May 11, 2016 9:30 am

Members of the impeachment committee react after voting on the impeachment of at the National Congress in Brasilia, April 11, 2016.

Brazil’s Senate is to vote shortly on whether to put President on impeachment trial for financial malpractice as her supporters and opponents face off with each other countrywide.
The Brazilian head of state will be forced off the saddle for a six-month-long period if a simple majority of 81 lawmakers in the upper house of the parliament vote in favor of the legal process.
Senators are due to start discussing the motion at 9 a.m. (1200 GMT) after each member of the upper house gets a chance to speak. The final vote is expected to take place around 8 p.m. (2300 GMT).
An absolute majority of the lawmakers in the Senate, the upper house of the Brazilian parliament, have said they would vote against her.
Vice President Michel Temer would fill in for Rousseff if she is put on impeachment trial.
The impeachment bid was launched over allegations that the president fiddled with government accounts in 2014 so she could increase public spending as a means of wooing votes for re-election.
The lower house of the parliament endorsed impeachment on April 17. Earlier, lower house speaker Waldir Maranhao overturned the lower house vote to launch the impeachment process but backtracked later, which allowed the Senate vote to get underway.
Also on Wednesday, Rousseff’s legions of grassroots supporters set up roadblocks on 14 highways in Brazil’s 26 states and the Federal District, where the capital, Brasilia, is also located. Rallies brought the second-largest city of Sao Paulo to a virtual standstill and clashes ensured with the police.
The president’s tenure has been marred by the country’s worst recession since the 1930s as well as its biggest-ever corruption scandal involving state-run oil company Petrobras.

A general view of the Brazilian Senate in the capital, Brasilia, May 10, 2016 (photo by AFP)

The graft scheme reportedly saw construction companies conspiring with Petrobras executives to overcharge the oil giant as much as USD two billion, some of which was paid out as bribes to politicians and parties.
Despite formerly chairing the oil colossus, Rousseff has not yet been formally tied to the scandal.
The political crisis is feared to translate into intractable chaos on the streets as the Workers Party and labor unions have called for a national strike.
The developments come at a time when Brazil is expected to stage a grand show of will and wealth during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.
The Brazilian president has, however, repeatedly disqualified her opponents, calling the impeachment bid an attempt at a “coup.” The chief executive has asserted that she has fallen victim to a plot by the extreme right. “They want to come to power by an easy route and not through popular election for which we have fought,” she has said.
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