Brazil: Dilma Rousseff loses impeachment vote in lower house

Photo: Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

A majority in the lower house of Brazil’s Congress has voted for the president’s impeachment. Hundreds of thousands of Dilma Rousseff’s opponents and supporters have been rallying across the country.

With 481 votes having been cast so far, 348 congressmen voted in favor of Rousseff’s impeachment and 133 voted against or abstained. The impeachment backers needed a two thirds majority or at least 342 votes in the 513-set body for the measure to move on to the Senate.

The ruling Workers’ Party has admitted the defeat with the party’s leader in the chamber, Jose Guimaraes, saying that the battle will now move into the Senate.

“The fight continues now in the Senate,” Guimaraes told reporters as cited by Reuters.

The government is confident that the Senate will dismiss the impeachment, said presidential chief of staff Jaques Wagner, rejecting the vote as “orchestrated” by Rouseff’s opponents who never accepted her re-election.

If the Senate then decides that there are legal grounds for an impeachment and over half of the body backs it, Rousseff would be temporarily suspended from office pending a Senate trial.

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