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Brazilian president loses bid to halt impeachment proceedings

Brazilian president loses bid to halt impeachment proceedings
May 11
22:11 2016
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Brazil’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by President Dilma Rousseff to block a senate vote on her impeachment.

The court prosecutor said the decision by Judge Teori Zavascki has paved the way for the senate to decide whether to suspend Rousseff and put her on trial over allegations that she illegally manipulated the budget to hide a growing fiscal deficit.

A report said the senators have begun debating ahead of a vote expected to last well into the night.

It explained that if the senate votes by a simple majority to consider the impeachment, Rousseff would be suspended for 180 days, during which time the senate would investigate the case.

It said further that a two-thirds majority would then be required in the upper house to permanently remove her from office.

In a last-ditch effort to block the vote, Rousseff had filed an appeal late Tuesday asking the court to suspend the Congressional proceedings because it constituted an “abuse of power.”

In her filing to the supreme court, Rousseff accused bitter rival and former speaker of the Chamber of deputies, Eduardo Cunha, of abusing his power in calling the April vote.

Cunha was suspended last week over accusations of obstructing a corruption investigation against him.

The legal tactic was the latest in a series of dramatic manoeuvres around the process to remove Rousseff from office.

In April, the lower house of parliament voted to impeach Rousseff, who has been president since 2011 and is the first woman to hold the office.

But on Monday, Waldir Maranhao, the Interim head of the legislature’s lower house, the chamber of deputies, threw the impeachment effort into disarray by annulling that vote, citing procedural problems.

He then reversed the decision several hours later, setting the stage for the vote in the senate.

Deeply unpopular, Rousseff’s presidency has been battered by high-profile corruption scandals, political paralysis and a sharp economic downturn.

Rousseff faces impeachment over accusations of tampering with figures to disguise the size of Brazil’s budget deficit during her 2014 re-election campaign.

She has denied any wrongdoing, and cast the efforts to oust her as a coup.

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