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Brazil’s Federal Senate resumes debates on Rousseff’s impeachment

August 31, 19:09 UTC+3 RIO DE JANEIRO
Alleged financial fraud during the first months of President Dilma Rousseff’s second term in office is the impeachment supporters’ chief motive
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RIO DE JANEIRO, August 31 /TASS/. Brazil’s Federal Senate (parliament’s upper house) on Wednesday resumed debates on the impeachment of suspended President Dilma Rousseff. The final decision on her resignation or reinstatement as the country’s president is expected in the next few hours.

Prior to the final vote, Ricardo Lewandowski, Chairman of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court who is supervising the impeachment process under the Brazilian constitution, will read out a document containing the summary of arguments set forth by the defense and prosecution. After that Rousseff’s supporters and opponents in the Senate will recommend their fellow lawmakers how to vote. Each of the sides will have 10 minutes to set forth their views and arguments. An unlimited number of speakers can take the floor during that time. Four Brazilian senators are expected to make the speeches.

After that, the senators will get down to voting by open ballot. Rousseff will have to step down if at least two thirds of the Senate (54% - TASS) vote for her impeachment. In that case, Vice-President Michel Temer will continue to be the acting head of state until the end of 2018. If the senators vote against the impeachment, Rousseff will return to her presidential duties.

Initially, the final vote was supposed to take place on Tuesday, August 30. However, the debates of representatives of the defense and the prosecution and the speeches of the senators themselves lasted late into the night. Forty-three out of 63 lawmakers, who used their right of speech, spoke in favor of Rousseff’s impeachment compared to 18 senators who were opposed to the impeachment initiative.

Alleged financial fraud during the first months of Rousseff’s second term in office is the impeachment supporters’ chief motive. They are accusing Rousseff of signing several decrees on the allocation of state funds without prior consultations with parliament and delaying payments to state banks. The opposition considers it as an attempt to conceal the budget deficit. Rousseff considers herself to be innocent and has called the impeachment initiative to be politically-motivated.

Her defense lawyers have prepared two appeals, which they will submit to the Supreme Federal Court, if the Federal Senate (parliament’s upper house) votes for Rousseff’s impeachment, Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported on its website on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, the first appeal mentions procedural violations; the second one insists that there are no grounds for Rousseff’s impeachment.

Earlier, Rousseff’s supporters sent a letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS) asking it to recognize the impeachment initiative to be illegal and urged the commission’s members to intervene and reinstate the suspended president in her office.

In her speech delivered to the senators last Monday, Rousseff said she was fighting for her presidential mandate for the sake of democracy and justice. She added she would not keep silent like a coward. She also described the initiative to impeach her as a state coup.

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