Dilma Rousseff.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Senado Federal, used under CC BY

Brazil's lower house of parliament voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff over accusations that she hid the extent of the budget deficit during her re-election campaign at the end of 2014.

However, the impeachment process itself is more complex.

THE LOWER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT initially formed a special commission to investigate allegations by the opposition. Following several sessions and a government hearing, the commission decided that an impeachment process was justified. On Sunday, the lower house agreed, with two-thirds of its 513 lawmakers voting in favour.

THE SENATE will now form another commission consisting of one-fourth - or 21 - of its members. By the end of April it can decide with a simple majority on the progression of the impeachment and suspend Rousseff from office for 180 days. During this period, Vice President Michel Temer of the centrist Brazilian Party for Democratic Movement (PMDB) would take over the country's leadership.

SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT Ricardo Lewandowski is to assess during the 180-day suspension period if an impeachment could be justified on legal grounds before the Senate has to cast its decisive vote in October. If the Senate votes with a two-thirds majority in favour of impeachment, Temer would stay on as president until the end of 2018. He would likely attempt to form a government without the participation of Rousseff's Workers' Party (PT).

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