By Senabri Silvestre
SANTO DOMIMNGO, Rep. Dom. (AA) – The interim president of Brazil’s lower house of Congress has reversed his decision to annul a vote that authorized an impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff.
Monday, Waldir Maranhao canceled the vote of 367 of 513 lawmakers last month who acted in favor of impeachment — creating uncertainty for the process that was set to be taken up by full Senate later this week.
But facing the possibility of being expelled from his party, Maranhao changed course, according to local media.
Maranhao’s decision to suspend the vote was based on what he called “flaws” during the process and said political parties influenced the voting of its members which would have forced another vote in the lower house.
But a defiant Senate President Renan Calheiros rejected Maranhao´s decision claiming it was “untimely” and affirmed that the vote in the chamber would take place Wednesday as scheduled.
Rousseff, who is accused of violating fiscal rules to hide a budget deficit ahead of the 2014 presidential elections, will be suspended from office for up to 180 days if the Senate votes in favor for a political trial.
Should that happen, Vice President Michel Temer, who is also under investigation, would assume leadership of the country.
If Rousseff is convicted, Temer would remain in the position until elections are held in 2018 — the end of the president’s term.
“I am tired of the disloyal and traitors, but not to fight”, said Rousseff, who has claimed that the congressional action is a “coup” attempt.
Lawmakers’ actions against her are motivated by the fact that she is the first president elected by popular vote in the country, she said, but she vowed to keep fighting for her political survival.
As a last attempt to avoid impeachment, the government on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to cancel the procedure. Similar attempts have been rejected.
Meanwhile, Rousseff supports took to the streets across Brazil to demonstrate against the impeachment efforts.
Widespread protests were held across the country with demonstrators burning tires and erecting barricades.
The main road to Sao Paulo, the country’s largest city, was blocked and snarled traffic during the morning rush hour.
Roadblocks were also set up in Rio de Janiero where the summer Olympic and Paralympic games will be held beginning in August.
Protest organizers vowed to continue with similar actions.