AP Explains: Why Brazilian Prez Faces Impeachment

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 9:35 AM

The effort comes amid an mad public mood over the S American nation'south worst recession in decades and a large bribery scandal at the state oil company Petrobras, yet it's not tied to either of those.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is facing possible impeachment by Congress. The effort comes amid an mad public mood over the S American nation'south worst recession in decades and a huge bribery scandal at the state oil company Petrobras, yet it's not tied to either of those. AP explains what'south behind the movement to oust her, and how it could play out:

What's ROUSSEFF ACCUSED OF DOING?

Rousseff is accused of breaking monetary laws by shifting around government funds ahead of her two thousand fourteen re-election campaign. Opposition parties declare sleight-of-hand accounting allowed her to boost public spending to shore up votes. Rousseff denies any wrongdoing, saying she didn't do anything that wasn't common practice in all prior administrations. She further argues that she isn't being accused of a crime, which should be the basis for any impeachment.

What's THE FIRST STEP OF IMPEACHMENT?

A special 65-member committee in the Chamber of Deputies will determine if the impeachment petition has a valid basis. With Brazil'south corruption scandals in the background, observers note that thirty-seven of the panel'south members face charges for a wide variety of alleged crimes. The committee, which includes many of Rousseff'south opponents, is expected to determine by mid-April in favor of bringing impeachment before the full house.

THEN WHAT HAPPENS?

The Chamber of Deputies will debate the matter. If at least three hundred forty-two of the five hundred thirteen legislators, or two-thirds, vote to impeach Rousseff, the case would move to the Senate. If a ordinary majority of senators then votes to consider impeachment, Rousseff would've to step aside, making Vice President Michel Temer acting president. If fifty-four of the Senate's eighty-one members then vote for impeachment, Rousseff would be forced from office and Temer would serve out her term, ending Dec. thirty-one, 2018.

HOW DO ROUSSEFF'south SUPPORTERS AND DETRACTORS CHARACTERIZE THE SITUATION?

Government supporters call the impeachment thrust a coup, because Rousseff isn't accused of any crime. They declare Brazil'south traditional ruling class has been unnerved by the social movement below Rousseff'south Worker'south Party over more than a decade in power and is seizing the opportunity to get back power. Opponents declare the administration'south maneuvering of funds was illegal and, just as importantly, attempted to mask problems in Latin America'south largest economy, such as enormous budget gaps that have surfaced over the latest year. They declare impeachment can't be considered a coup because it'south allowed in the constitution.

WHO IN CONGRESS IS PUSHING FOR IMPEACHMENT?

Leading the charge is long-time Rousseff nemesis Eduardo Cunha, the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies who himself is accused of taking bribes in the Petrobras scandal; he denies wrongdoing. But congressmen from more than ten parties, ranging from the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party to the conservative Democrats, support impeachment.

WHAT DOES FORMER PRESIDENT LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA HAVE TO DO WITH ALL THIS?

Rousseff asked Silva, her predecessor and mentor, to utilize his skills as a negotiator to assistance her fend off off impeachment. She appointed Silva as her chief of staff, a move that still should be confirmed by Brazil'south top court. Government supporters declare the appointment would assistance Rousseff stabilize a rocky political situation. Detractors declare it'south a bare attempt to sidetrack any prosecution of Silva, who was questioned in early March in the Petrobras probe. Cabinet members can only be investigated or tried with the permission of the Supreme Court. Silva hasn't been charged and denies any wrongdoing.

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