Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s impending impeachment has stalled after the speaker of the lower house of Congress annulled a vote by MPs to launch the process. The on-off saga still has legs to run.
The Senate was due to start its own voting process on Wednesday with a majority expected to vote for Rousseff to be suspended, which would immediately make her ineligible to continue as president for the duration of a trial that could last six months. During this time Vice President Michel Temer would replace her as acting president.
The lower house voted in mid-April by a large majority to send Rousseff’s case to the Senate for trial. She is accused of illegally manipulating government budget accounts during her 2014 reelection battle.
A law unto herself?
A new vote should take place on whether to impeach Rousseff, Waldir Maranhao, interim speaker of the lower house, reportedly wrote in an order which said that MPs should hold a new vote in five sessions’ time. It is not clear if Maranhao’s order will be challenged, possibly in the Supreme Court.
Maranhao – who took over as acting speaker last week – said there were procedural flaws in the April 17 vote in the chamber that accepted impeachment charges against Rousseff.
Rousseff interrupted a speech Monday to supporters to say that she’d just got unconfirmed news of her impeachment hitting a roadblock. “I don’t know the consequences. Please be cautious,” she said.
Rousseff, who denies wrongdoing, has been fighting for her political survival for several months as opposition congressmen push aggressively for her ouster.