Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is having a bad week and it’s only Tuesday. Brazil’s congressional committee voted 38-27 late Monday recommending impeachment proceedings over allegations that Rousseff had manipulated government finances to conceal a growing deficit.
Monday’s vote was marked by intense debate and shouting matches and has brought the possible ouster of Rousseff a step closer. Brazil’s 513-member Chamber of Deputies will now take a full vote on the issue on either Sunday or Monday as mass protests continue across Brazil, the Associated Press reported.
The Chamber of Deputies vote is still too close to call, with a recent opinion poll from Estadão showing 292 people were in support of the vote, 115 were against and 106 were still undecided, the BBC reported. If the vote passes — 342 votes are needed — the issue will move on to the Senate with a trial then possible. If a trial does take place, Rousseff would be suspended from her position for up to 180 days.
Six out of 10 Brazilians support Rousseff’s impeachment, a Datafolha poll found, Bloomberg reported. Brazil’s economic recession paired with a corruption scandal linked to top politicians and business executives have left the nation in crisis. Rousseff’s mentor and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is facing a graft investigation over his connections to Petrobas, the state oil company.
Rousseff’s supporters have said the proceedings amount to a coup d’état. “It is absurd to dismiss a president who has not committed crimes, nor stolen a penny. And such a process without crime or fraud, would be a coup,” said Attorney General José Eduardo Cardozo, a supporter of Rousseff’s.
In a message that appeared to have been mistakenly released Monday, Brazil’s Vice President Michel Temer called for a government of national unity showing he is preparing for Rousseff’s possible removal, Reuters reported. “We need to unite all the political parties, and all the parties should be ready to collaborate to drag Brazil out of this crisis,” he said in the recording.
Brazil last impeached a president in 1992. Then-President Fernando Collor de Mello resigned over corruption charges.