Brazilian President Rousseff’s impeachment to go ahead
The impeachment of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff looked set to go ahead on Tuesday, after the interim speaker of the lower house said he had reversed his earlier annulment.
In the latest twist to the country’s spiralling political crisis, local media said Waldir Maranhao had “reversed the decision” to cancel the April vote by lawmakers that had first begun the process. His move clears the way for Rousseff’s impeachment, after Senate president Renan Calheiros on Monday dismissed Maranhao’s initial decision and said the upper house would go ahead with the impeachment vote anyway.
The Senate had been expected to vote Wednesday whether to accept the impeachment case against Rousseff and put her on trial for allegedly breaking fiscal rules in her management of the national budget. If a simple majority of senators decides in favor, Rousseff will be suspended and Vice President Michel Temer will take over until a trial is conducted.
Senate President Renan Calheiros told colleagues that he intended to ignore Maranhao’s action and move forward with the proceedings as scheduled. He criticized the speaker’s action as “toying with democracy.”
Whether the Senate would be able to go forward was unclear, since both the government and opposition were likely to appeal Maranhao’s decision. At the very least, the impeachment process could be pushed back a few days.
The impeachment proceedings come as Brazil is grappling with its worst recession in decades, a continuing corruption probe that already has ensnared top politicians and prominent businessmen, and an outbreak of the Zika virus. At the same time, the country’s showcase city, Rio de Janeiro, is gearing up to host the Olympics in August.