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Suspended Brazilian president’s impeachment enters final lap

August 10, 2016, 12:43 UTC+3 RIO DE JANEIRO

A two-thirds majority - 54 senators - is needed to support the initiative to remove Rousseff from the presidency

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© EPA/Cadu Gomes

RIO DE JANEIRO, August 10. /TASS/. Brazil’s upper house of parliament, the Federal Senate, voted early Wednesday to press on with the impeachment process against suspended president Dilma Rousseff.

A total of 59 lawmakers voted in favor of continuing the trial against Rousseff and 21 others voted against during the debate that had lasted for around 16 hours.

The vote is not decisive: its outcome will be bringing the impeachment process into its final stage.

In the coming weeks, the senators will once again study the arguments voiced by Rousseff’s opponents, listen to the defense team, the prosecutors and the witnesses, and then vote again on her dismissal. The final verdict will be announced in late August or early September.

A two-thirds majority - 54 senators - is needed to support the initiative to remove Rousseff from the presidency.

Should Rousseff be impeached, Vice President Michel Temer, who currently is Brazil’s acting president, will remain in power until the 2018 elections. If the number of impeachment supporters is less than the threshold requirement, then Rousseff will immediately return to the president’s office.

The outcome of Wednesday’s vote signals an unfavorable scenario for Rousseff. If senators do not change their opinion in the coming weeks then Rousseff’s dismissal will be approved.

Rousseff’s opponents say the impeachment process is motivated by her alleged financial transgressions during the first months of her second term.

The suspended president is accused of failing to consult with parliament prior to enacting the budget and also delaying payments to state banks. No corruption charges were made against Rousseff.

Rousseff, who took office in 2011, has repeatedly defended her innocence, claiming the impeachment process is politically motivated.

Rousseff gearing up to address the nation and senators

The Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported that the republic’s suspended president was preparing a so-called letter to the senators and nation calling for early presidential elections.

According to the report, Brazil’s ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has arrived in the country’s capital to help Rousseff work on the address that is expected to be made no later than August 10.

In the document Rousseff will confirm her readiness to hold general elections, if citizens support it and the impeachment initiative is rejected.

However, even if Rousseff returns to office she will be unable to announce general elections or a referendum without the parliament’s approval. Most lawmakers have come out against organizing the plebiscite as they do not want to lose their mandates now.

Still, this idea is popular among the public - more than half of Brazilians (50.3%) oppose early presidential elections this year, according to an opinion poll conducted for the national transport confederation showed in early June.

Rallies by impeachment opponents

Opponents of impeachment on Tuesday blocked Paulista Avenue, one of Sao Paulo’s busiest thoroughfares. The rally was sparked by trade unions and public movements supporting Rousseff. During the event, demonstrators carrying red flags demanded Temer’s resignation.

Protests against Temer’s policies were also held in Recife in northeastern Brazil. Over the past days several manifestations were reported in Rio de Janeiro. They were held at the Olympic stadiums as Rousseff’s supporters expect to draw attention of foreign mass media to the country’s events.

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