Written by Staff Writer
18 Apr, 2016 | 8:45 pm
Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted on Sunday (April 17) to back the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff for breaking budget laws.
Rousseff’s opponents reached the 342-vote mark needed to send her impeachment to the Senate for trial, a major step towards potentially ending 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule in the divided nation.
For over 6 hours Brazilian lawmakers shouted and scuffled as they debated the impeachment motion.
367 members of congress voted for the impeachment while 137 voted against it.
According to international media reports the impeachment motion will now head to the country’s Senate. If the Senate approved the motion President Rousseff will have to step down for 180 days and defend herself in an impeachment trial.
If the motion is approved, Brazil’s first female President will have to step down by May, just 3 months before the start of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Rouseff’s supporters have vowed to take to the streets in retaliation against the decision of Congress showing glimpses of a possibly long battle ahead.
If Rousseff is forced to step down, Vice President Michel Temer of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) will take over the reigns of the country. According to foreign media reports the PMDB is also involved in it’s own corruption scandal.
While the Brazilian President has not been directly accused of corruption, her government has been tainted by a vast graft scandal involving Petrobras, the state oil company. Ironically many of the lawmakers who decided her fate on Sunday have been directly linked with allegations of corruption.
Reuters citing reports from Congresso em Foco, a prominent watchdog group in Brasilia, reports that more that 300 of the legislators who voted in favor of the impeachment, are under investigation for corruption, fraud or electoral crimes. This includes the man leading the charge Speaker Eduardo Cunha.
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