Brazil Starts 'Kafka-esque' Impeachment Debate
Lawmakers who want President Dilma Rousseff out allege finance rule violations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 15, 2016 9:10 AM CDT
A woman steps on a poster showing Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, left, and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, with the phrase in Portuguese "They knew everything. Impeachment Now" as protesters...   (Eraldo Peres)
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(Newser) – The lower chamber of Brazil's Congress has begun debate on whether to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, with the crucial vote slated for Sunday, the AP reports. The government had carried out an unsuccessful bid before the country's Supreme Court to try to halt the process, but that appeal was lost, Reuters notes. The atmosphere in the lower Chamber of Deputies was electric at the start of Friday's session, with some congressmen chanting "Dilma Out!" before proceedings began. Lawmakers backing impeachment allege Rousseff's administration violated fiscal rules. They say the government used sleight-of-hand accounting in a bid to shore up public support.

However, many of those pushing for impeachment face grave accusations of corruption themselves. Rousseff's defenders insist she did nothing illegal and say similar accounting techniques were used by previous presidents. The country's attorney general called the whole procedure "Kafka-esque" and said it meant Rousseff wouldn't be able to fully defend herself, Al Jazeera reports. If 342 of the lower house's 513 legislators vote in favor of impeachment, the process moves to the Senate, which would decide whether to open a trial. If the Senate moves to impeach Rousseff, she would be swapped out with Brazil's vice president, Michel Temer, as soon as May since she would be suspended from office for up to 180 days during the trial.
 

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