A congressional committee voted Monday to recommend that the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff move forward, bringing the possible ouster of the embattled leader a step closer. Rousseff is facing impeachment proceedings over allegations her administration violated fiscal rules to mask budget problems. Her opponents say the process is in line with the wishes of the majority of Brazilians, while Rousseff's supporters call it a blatant power grab by her foes. The special congressional commission voted 38-27 to recommend the continuation of the impeachment process—comfortably more than the 33 votes needed to hand the pro-impeachment camp a victory, reports the AP.
The outcome had been widely expected, and it was largely symbolic because no matter the outcome of the vote, the matter would still have gone to the full lower house for a crucial vote expected at week's end. With 342 votes in the 513-member Chamber of Deputies needed for the process to move forward, analysts say the outcome of that vote is too close to call. If the impeachment measure passes in the Chamber of Deputies, it goes to the Senate, which would decide whether to open a trial. If that happened, Rousseff would be suspended from office for up to 180 days during a trial. But there's another twist: the release of audio of an address by Vice President Michel Temer, who would take over if Rousseff were suspended. In it, he speaks as if he had already assumed the top job. More on that here. (Read more Dilma Rousseff stories.)