Rousseff appeals to Supreme Court as Senate set to launch impeachment
BRASILIA – Agence France-Presse
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff speaks during the opening of the National Conference of Women, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - AP photoBrazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s government lawyer lodged a last-ditch appeal with the Supreme Court on May 10, one day before the Senate was scheduled to start an impreachment trial against the president.
Rousseff’s government lawyer lodged a last-ditch appeal with the Supreme Court, but it was unclear whether the court would even respond in time.
Barring a dramatic twist in events, the Senate was to start debating impeachment on the morning of May 11, with voting expected either late at night or in the early hours of May 12.
A majority of more than half of the senators in the 81-member chamber would trigger the opening of a trial and Rousseff’s automatic suspension for up to six months. In the final judgement, removing her from office would require a two-thirds majority.
She is accused of breaking budgetary laws by taking loans to boost public spending and mask the sinking state of the economy during her tight 2014 re-election campaign.
Rousseff says the accounting maneuvers were standard practice for many governments in the past and describes the impeachment as a coup mounted by her vice president, Michel Temer, who will take over if she is suspended.
Rousseff was a onetime Marxist guerrilla tortured under Brazil’s military dictatorship in the 1970s.
Journalists gathered outside the gate of the official presidential residence in Brasilia from the early morning hours.
Rousseff’s official agenda released daily to the public contained a solitary item: “Internal paperwork.”
Temer, whose center-right PMDB party broke off its uneasy partnership with Rousseff’s leftist Workers’ Party, has already prepared a new government, saying his priority will be to take action on the moribund economy, now in its worst recession for decades.
Rousseff vows to resist.
“I am going to fight with all my strength, using all means available,” she told a women’s forum in Brasilia on May 10.
Rousseff called her opponents “people [who] can’t win the presidency through a popular vote” and claimed they had a “project to dismantle” social gains made by millions of poor during 13 years of Workers’ Party rule.