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Brazil's Lower House Elects Committee to Hear Case for Rousseff's Impeachment

03/18/2016 - 10h03

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RANIER BRAGON
DÉBORA ÁLVARES
FROM BRASÍLIA

The lower house of Congress will recommence the impeachment proceedings against president Dilma Rousseff this Thursday (17), putting the Planalto Palace, the Brazilian seat of government, under even more pressure than it is already feeling.

Sessão da Câmara

On paper, the list of the 65 lower house members elected for the impeachment committee seems to go in Rousseff's favour, since the majority are members of the current government. However, in practice there seems to be a slight advantage for those hoping for Dilma's defeat, the numbers of whom are expected to grow over the next few days.

What's more, the government was obliged to accept the appointment of Senator Jovair Arantes (PTB-GO), one of the principle allies of lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ), as rapporteur for the proceedings.

Finally, Cunha complicated the proceedings by bringing up the controversial case of whistle-blowing, in which the ex-government official Senator Delcídio do Amaral (MS) accused Rousseff and former president Lula da Silva of participating in the Petrobras corruption scandal.

The impeachment process was originally begun following demands by the lawyers Helio Bicudo (ex-Worker's Party member), Miguel Reale Jr. (Minister in the Fernando Henrique Cardoso government 1995-2003) and Janaíana Paschoal.

Their main argument in favour of impeachment was what they viewed to be the president's dubious financial manoeuvrings at the end of 2014.

The decisions for the appointment impeachment committee were passed amidst much uproar and chaos in the lower house, by a majority vote of 433 to one. 24 parties put forward representatives for the committee, proportional to their number of seats.

The Planalto Palace received these figures from the lower house this Thursday afternoon (17). The vote on Arantes' report is due to be held between the April 15 and May 3.

Translated by GILLIAN SOPHIE HARRIS

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