UPDATE: 5:41 a.m. EDT — The Brazilian Senate voted 55-22 Thursday to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial for breaking budget laws.
Vice President Michel Temer will take over while Rousseff, who will be suspended later Thursday after notification, is under trial, Reuters reported. The trial will go on for 180 days and Rousseff will remain under suspension when the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro start Aug. 5, according to the BBC.
UPDATE: 2:15 a.m. EDT — As the Brazilian Senate continues to discuss the impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff, 40 senators have indicated they will vote in favor of the motion, according to the latest tally by the Guardian.
Meanwhile, a Brazilian TV network, Globo, said three of the total 81 senators will not vote Thursday. Two of them are on sick leave while the third has not taken office yet. Among the remaining 78 senators, 40 votes against her would be sufficient for Rousseff’s impeachment trial to go ahead.
The actual vote is still at least a couple of hours away, since more than 10 senators have yet to speak for their allotted 15 minutes each.
UPDATE: 12:15 a.m. EDT — The latest count shows that 35 senators, including a former minister in President Dilma Rousseff’s government, have indicated they will vote against her in the impeachment trial, the Guardian reported.
Meanwhile, 11 senators have said they will vote against the impeachment trial, and one senator, former President Fernando Collor de Mello — he was himself impeached in 1992 — did not specify how he would vote.
UPDATE: 11 p.m. EDT — At the most recent tally, 29 senators have said they will vote in favor of impeaching Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, and nine have said they will oppose impeachment, Britain's the Guardian reported. Forty-one votes will be needed for the impeachment to pass.
The vote is to take place after 71 senators (of the 81 total) have an opportunity to speak. So far, about 40 senators have spoken, the Guardian reported.
UPDATE: 10:30 p.m. EDT — More than 12 hours after impeachment proceedings began in Brazil's capital against President Dilma Rousseff, only about half of the 70 senators scheduled to speak before a vote is finalized have used their allotted 15 minutes at the podium.
More than half of the 41 senators needed to impeach the president have said they’re committed to doing so, while only five senators have come out against impeachment, according to local media reports. Epoca magazine posted an image of Rousseff and Jaques Wagner, former defense minister, watching pro-Rousseff rallies taking place on the streets outside the Senate building that have led to clashes with security forces.
— Época (@RevistaEpoca) May 12, 2016
Several people have been treated for pepper spray inhalation, prompting leftist lawmakers to condemn what they claimed was an excessive use of force against supporters of the president.
— Renata (@RenataBrito91) May 12, 2016
UPDATE: 7:30 p.m. EDT – Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff will address the nation at 10 a.m. local time Thursday and release a video to social media shortly thereafter, U.S. radio network NPR reported, citing information from the president’s press office.
Rousseff will give a press declaration tomorrow 10h in Brasilia and then publish video on social media. Info from her press office. #Brazil
— Anna Edgerton (@annaedge4) May 11, 2016
With more than 40 senators still lined up to deliver their 15-minute speeches for or against the president’s ouster, the final vote might not be announced until around 6 a.m. Thursday local time.
UPDATE: 6:15 p.m. EDT – The leader of Brazil’s Senate, Renan Calheiros, called for a pause in floor speeches during Tuesday’s vote to impeach President Dilma Rousseff for violating the country’s budgetary laws. Pro-impeachment lawmakers had nearly half the 41 votes needed to boot the former Energy Minister from office.
Lawmakers are lined up for their 15 minutes of allotted time to speak. With more that 40 speeches left to go it could take hours for the proceedings to end.
Rousseff is not without allies, however. Workers’ Party Sen. Jorge Viana Acre said during his allotted time at the podium that the impeachment proceedings: “throws the votes of millions of Brazilians in the trash!”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that Rousseff has cleared out her office and moved her belongings to the presidential residence. Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo said the move occurred Tuesday amid the impeachment proceedings that were expected to see the president ousted in a matter of hours.
As night descended in Brasilia, security forces were reportedly firing tear gas at pro- Rousseff supporters.
Police firing tear gas at pro Dilma protestors outside senate in Brasilia pic.twitter.com/lGspNaB3fQ
— Lulu Garcia-Navarro (@lourdesgnavarro) May 11, 2016
Rousseff is accused of using accounting tricks in managing the country’s budget to maintain her social spending programs benefitting the country’s poor. Rousseff, who faces no criminal charges, maintains that previous presidents engaged in the same accounting practices. But Rousseff’s government has been tainted by a massive graft scandal at Brazil’s state-owned Petrobras oil company and a deep economic recession linked to global plunge in commodious the country’s finances depend upon.
Rousseff has a lot of support among Brazil’s poor for her efforts to maintain social programs the benefit them.
Fun #Brazil Senate stats:
80% White Men
58% Under Criminal Investigation
60% Come from Political dynasties
13% Unelected (alternates)
— Lulu Garcia-Navarro (@lourdesgnavarro) May 11, 2016
UPDATE: 2:20 p.m. EDT — In what could be a telling sign, the first 10 of the expected 68 Brazilian senators to testify ahead of a vote to determine the fate of President Dilma Rousseff have argued for the country's leader to be impeached, according to a tweet from a Brazil-based journalist.
— Nicson Olivier (@nicsonolivier12) May 11, 2016
— Rachel Glickhouse (@Riogringa) May 11, 2016
Prior to the start of the debate, two senators unsuccessfully appealed for the proceedings to be postponed, the Guardian reported. That was followed by the Supreme Court denying Rousseff's appeal to stop the vote, which is expected to happen Wednesday night around 10 p.m. EDT.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) May 11, 2016
UPDATE: 1:15 p.m. EDT — Brazil President Dilma Rousseff is expected to "address the nation" after the Senate votes in favor of or against impeaching her, according to a tweet from a local journalist.
Dilma to address the nation after vote https://t.co/UEw4SC0Tz7
— Bruce Douglas (@bruceecurb) May 11, 2016
Rousseff's impeachment is looking more and more like a reality, according to Humberto Costa, the leader of the Workers Party in the Brazilian Senate. Costa tweeted the "process of impeachment" is a "scandal" within itself, the Guardian reported.
“There are no other paths for us but opposition,” Costa reportedly told a local TV station.
UPDATE: 12:16 p.m. EDT — Brazil's supreme court has rejected an appeal to end a vote to impeach President Dilma Rousseff over allegations of corruption, the Guardian reported. The appeal by Rousseff's political allies was largely seen as a last-ditch effort, and it would appear that there is now nothing preventing an impeachment vote from moving forward.
The "petition to issue a stay suspending the process" was denied by Justice Teori Zavascki, a spokesman for the Brazilian supreme court told Agence France-Presse.
UPDATE: 11:36 a.m. EDT — The Brazilian Senate's debate over President Dilma Rousseff's fate got off to a bad, if not a tardy start, according to one presiding official. The proceedings began about an hour late, the BBC reported.
"There won't be changes; the session will be conducted with absolute normality," said Senate President Renan Calheiros. "Any delay won't be good for Brazil."
Before the first session ended Wednesday, the Guardian reported that Senator Ataides Oliveira took the podium to make his case for impeaching Rousseff, who stands accused of political and financial malfeasance and could be suspended for up to six months if she is impeached. If she is put on trial and convicted, she would be removed from the presidency indefinitely.
UPDATE: 9:30 a.m. EDT — The Brazilian Senate began a session Wednesday morning that could decide the fate of President Dilma Rousseff. The Senate started what was expected to be a long debate that would culminate in a vote deciding if Rousseff will face an impeachment trial.
The session began with a lengthy speech by the chamber’s president, Renan Calheiros, according to the Guardian.
Senate leader starts impeachment debate against Dilma, "with the protection of god I initiate our work." pic.twitter.com/ScRJzGIGcs
— jonathanwatts (@jonathanwatts) May 11, 2016
The Brazilian Senate is slated Wednesday to hold a crucial vote on the fate of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, deciding if she should face an impeachment trial that could suspend her for up to six months. Rousseff made an eleventh hour pitch Tuesday night to the Supreme Court, asking it to stop the impeachment process for alleged bias and irregularities, but similar petitions have failed in the past.
The vote Wednesday is scheduled the day after the speaker of the lower house of Congress, Waldir Maranhao, walked back a decision to annul that body's impeachment proceedings. Maranhao did not specify why he reversed his decision to stop the impeachment procedures, which itself was a shocking announcement Monday. Before the U-turn, he had said there were procedural flaws in the April 17 lower chamber decision that initially accepted the impeachment charges against Rousseff. Senate President Renan Calheiros said Monday that Maranhao's decision to annul the proceedings was "playing with democracy."
If a simple majority of the Senate votes to put the president on trial Wednesday, then Rousseff would be suspended from office Thursday, which would put Vice President Michel Temer in charge during the trial. The suspension could last up to six months. Should Rousseff be convicted and removed indefinitely, the vice president would remain in the position until elections in 2018, according to Reuters.
The efforts to remove Rousseff from office stem from allegations that she broke budgetary laws, borrowing money from state financial institutions to help cover up a growing deficit ahead of the country's 2014 election. Rousseff's opponents are convinced they have the 41 votes necessary to launch the trial and believe they will also be able to garner two-thirds support to remove the president at the end of a potential trial.
The impeachment crisis comes a time of wide-ranging chaos for Brazil. The South American nation is mired in a crippling recession, it's contending with the Zika virus and, all the while, it's desperately attempting to finish preparations for August's Rio Olympics.
The important Senate vote is scheduled to take place at about 7 p.m. EDT. You can watch a live stream of the Senate's vote here or over at the upper chamber's YouTube channel here. The video feed is also embedded below: