By Senabri Silvestre
SANTO DOMINGO. Dom. Rep. (AA) – A Brazilian Senate committee voted Friday in favor of moving forward an impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff.
Fifteen members of the 21-person committee voted to send the matter to the full Senate, as was recommended by the Sen. Antonio Anastasia earlier this week. Five lawmakers voted to end the process and the committee chairman did not cast a vote.
The action stems from allegations that Rousseff violated fiscal rules to hide a budget deficit ahead of the 2014 presidential elections.
Anastasia’s recommendation came after Attorney General Rodrigo Janot asked to investigate Rousseff for obstruction in a massive corruption probe of state-owned oil giant Petrobras.
Rousseff could be removed from office next week when the vote goes to the full Senate that will have the final decision about whether to proceed with a political trial against the president.
The lower house of Congress last month approved the impeachment process, dealing a severe blow to the president, who repeatedly has said the congressional action against her is an attempted “coup”.
“They are condemning in this impeachment, an innocent person. And there is nothing more serious than to convict an innocent person,” she said following the committee vote, according to local media.
A majority of 41 out of 81 votes is needed to proceed with a political trial against the president.
If passed, Rousseff will be suspended from office for up to 180 days while Vice President Michel Temer, who is also under investigation, assumes leadership of the country.