Brazil's Rousseff closer to impeachment after vote in congress

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was one step closer to impeachment on Monday after a congressional committee voted in favour of advancing proceedings that could result in the embattled two-term leader being removed from office.

A special committee of the lower house of congress, the Chamber of Deputies, voted 38 to 27 in favour of impeachment.

The request will now be taken up by the full lower house on Sunday. If two-thirds of lawmakers in the 513-seat chamber vote for impeachment, Rousseff would be suspended from office for 180 days while the upper house Senate considers the matter.

Rousseff is accused of manipulating budget accounts shortly before the 2014 election in order to conceal the true size of the budget deficit.

Congress late last year opened impeachment hearings against Rousseff, who is profoundly unpopular amid a severe economic downturn and political gridlock in the world's fifth largest country by population.

She denies any wrongdoing and, despite months of mass nationwide protests, has said she will not willingly step down.

A cloud of suspicion also hangs over Rousseff due to her ties to oil giant Petrobras, which the state has a majority stake in.

The company has been embroiled in a scandal in which firms including Brazil's largest construction companies are believed to have paid billions of dollars in bribes to obtain lucrative contracts with the oil monopoly. The investigation has led to dozens of arrests.

Rousseff chaired the Petrobras supervisory board from 2003 to 2010, a time when some of the alleged graft is said to have occurred.

Last update: Tue, 12/04/2016 - 10:51

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