Appeal to stop Rousseff impeachment vote rejected Dilma Rousseff

DILMA ROUSSEFFBRASILIA. — Brazil’s lower house of parliament, yesterday began a debate ahead of a vote tomorrow on the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Opposition MPs began the session chanting “Long Live Democracy”.

Brazil’s Supreme Court has rejected a government injunction against the vote.

President Rousseff’s attorney-general, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, had asked the top court for an injunction to suspend tomorrow’s lower house vote until the full court can rule on what he called procedural flaws in the impeachment process.

But the court dismissed the motion during a session that ran into the early hours.

Justices voted 8-2 to deny Rousseff’s appeal, saying it wasn’t their role to get involved at this stage of the process.

President Rousseff is accused of manipulating government accounts ahead of her re-election in 2014.

She denies the charges and accuses opponents of plotting a “coup”.

She has vowed to fight to “the last minute” despite the desertion of three allied parties ahead of tomorrow’s vote.

Brazilian media predict a close vote, with two polls putting the number of those in favour of impeachment at 342 — the crucial two-thirds needed to send the motion to the upper house, the Senate. If the Senate endorses the move, President Rousseff will be suspended for up to 180 days whilst an impeachment trial is held.

The Supreme Court made its decision in an extraordinary session.

The injunction to suspend the vote was filed by Attorney-General Jose Eduardo Cardozo, who alleged procedural infringements which had violated the president’s right to a defence.

Seven of 10 justices voted to reject the motion even before the Supreme Court session had finished.

The president’s supporters say the issue is not valid grounds for impeachment.

On Tuesday, President Rousseff seemed to suggest that her Vice-President, Michel Temer, was one of the ringleaders of a “coup” attempt against her.

She said a widely distributed audio message of Temer appearing to accept replacing her as president was evidence of the conspiracy.

“However, she did not identify him by name.

Brazil is “living in strange times”, she said, “times of a coup, of farce and betrayal”.

While President Rousseff’s opponents say the impeachment is supported by most Brazilians, the president’s supporters have labelled it a flagrant power grab by her political enemies.

If the president and Temer were both suspended from office, the next in line to assume the presidency would be lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha.

However, he is facing money-laundering and other charges.

If President Rousseff is ousted, it would end the 13-year rule of her leftist Workers’ Party, which has lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty and is overwhelmingly supported by the poor.

Her Workers’ Party warned on Thursday that chaos will take hold of Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, if its democratically elected president is deposed.

“It’s a mistake to think that overthrowing a government will bring stability, peace, security and development,” the party’s leader, Rui Falcao, told reporters in Brasilia.

“Not respecting the popular vote will plunge the country into chaos.” — Agencies/HR.

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