A group of Brazilian lawyers seeking the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff plans to submit a request Wednesday to launch impeachment proceedings, Bloomberg reported, after months of speculation that have damaged Brazil's economy and diminished its prospects as one of the world's leading emerging markets. Rousseff faces accusations that she altered the government's fiscal accounts in 2014 and 2015, amid a bribery scandal at the state-run oil company Petrobras.
A parliamentary commission charged with investigating Rousseff's involvement in the scandal, in which executives were accused of paying politicians as much as $1.6 billion in order to obtain contracts, declared her innocent Monday, saying "there was no proof" she was responsible, teleSUR English reported Monday. Before becoming president, Rousseff was head of the board of directors at Petrobras while many of the alleged corrupt activities took place.
Now, a group of high-profile citizens are adding their voices to the chorus for her impeachment. Among them are Helio Bicudo, who once was a member of Rousseff's Workers' Party, and Miguel Reale Junior, a former minister of justice. Supporting them is the largest opposition party. They argue that Rousseff attempted to hide Brazil's gaping budget deficit by altering accounts. They reportedly will submit a petition Wednesday to the president of the lower house of parliament, Eduardo Cunha. If Cunha accepts the petition, it could lead to more months of wrangling and political drama as lawmakers decide Rousseff's fate.
— Robert Ward (@RobertAlanWard) October 20, 2015
Rousseff has denied wrongdoing, on all fronts. “Government action will not be impeded by the opposition,” she told journalists Tuesday. “No matter how many impeachment requests they make.”
In order for a president in Brazil to be impeached, the lower house of parliament must accept a petition for impeachment and vote on it. If it passes by two-thirds, it moves on to the Senate, which then decides the president's fate. If Rousseff is removed, Vice President Michel Temer would take her place until her current term ends in 2018.
Regardless of the outcome of the impeachment efforts, some analysts have argued the real toll of the scandal and political impasse is on Brazil's economy. The value of the real, Brazil's currency, has fallen 32 percent in 2015, and its credit ratings have been downgraded four times under Rousseff. This year, Brazil's gross domestic product is expected to contract by 3 percent.