Brazilian MP asks court to block impeachment vote

Brazilian MP asks court to block impeachment vote

BRASILIA – Agence France-Presse
Brazilian MP asks court to block impeachment vote

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff arrives for a ceremony to announce an addition to the government subsidized housing program coined "My home, My life, at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, May 6, 2016. AP photo

A deputy from the ruling Workers’ Party has appealed to Brazil’s Supreme Court in an effort to block the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff ahead of May 11’s Senate vote.

Deputy Paulo Teixeira asked the court to annul a vote taken on April 17, saying political leaders had exercised illegal and improper pressure on their members, local news media reported May 7.

At a plenary session on that day, an overwhelming majority of parliament (367 to 146 members) voted to launch impeachment proceedings against the leftist president, whom the opposition accuses of illegally manipulating government budget numbers to help her re-election chances in 2014.

Teixeira based his argument on the fact that the high court had on May 5 suspended the speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha -- the powerful man at the center of the efforts to impeach Rousseff -- on grounds he had tried to obstruct an inquiry into his own alleged corruption in the Petrobras scandal.

Teixeira alleges that parliament leaders, under heavy pressure from Cunha, “clearly violated” the deputies’ right under Brazilian law to vote freely on impeachment matters, according to their conscience and not in lockstep with their parties.

He said that several deputies had voted the way they did for fear of reprisals, including possible expulsion from their parties. Some members abstained.

But the high court appears disinclined to overturn the vote of Congress.

If opinion polls and press commentators are right, Rousseff will be removed from office by a majority vote of senators on May 11 and will face trial on allegations of budgetary manipulation.