The acting speaker of the lower house of Brazil’s Congress on Monday annulled last month’s vote for impeaching President Dilma Rousseff, potentially delaying and complicating the process that was widely expected to see the embattled leader suspended later this week.
A Senate vote on whether to accept the matter and put Rousseff on trial had been scheduled for Wednesday, with the expectation that the vote would lead to Rousseff’s immediate suspension and Vice President Michel Temer taking over. But Monday’s move by acting Speaker Waldir Maranhao evidently means the matter will go back to the Chamber of Deputies and could possibly delay the process by days or weeks.
However, Senate Head Renan Calheiros told the Senate he intended to ignore the decision and move forward with the proceedings as scheduled. He slammed Maranhao’s decision as “toying with democracy,” and added: “It’s not up to the head of the Senate to say whether the process is fair or unfair.”
The speaker’s surprise move touched off a firestorm of debate over the move’s legality and its possible implications.
Under the terms of the decision, the lower house would have five sessions to hold another vote on whether to send the impeachment process against Rousseff to the Senate. The lower house overwhelmingly voted to move forward with the process last month and it is those April 15-17 sessions that Maranhao annulled.
Story by the Associated Press