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Impeachment of Rousseff step closer

Brazilian congressman and rapporteur of the impeachment committee against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Jovair Arantes, gestures as he speaks to the press at the Chamber of Deputies in Brasília on March 21, 2016

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Jovair Arantes is the head of the congressional committee tasked with analysing the president’s impeachment

The head of a congressional committee in Brazil set up to analyse whether President Dilma Rousseff should face an impeachment vote has given his recommendation.

Lawmaker Jovair Arantes said he thought there were enough grounds for impeachment proceedings to continue.

President Rousseff is alleged to have manipulated government accounts to hide a growing deficit, which she denies.

Mr Arantes’ decision is non-binding but could sway undecided lawmakers.

The 65-member committee which Mr Arantes heads will vote on Monday on whether it thinks the impeachment proceedings should go ahead.

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The future of President Rousseff hangs on the number of votes

Members of the lower house of Congress: 513

Number of votes needed for Ms Rousseff to be suspended: 342

Number of votes needed to block her impeachment: 172

Number of days Ms Rousseff would be suspended while the Senate debates her impeachment: 180

Regardless of the outcome, the full lower house of Congress will convene on 17 April to vote on the matter.

That latter vote will be key in deciding whether Ms Rousseff stays in power.

If two-thirds of the lower house vote for her impeachment, Ms Rousseff will be suspended for 180 days, while the matter goes to the upper house, the Senate.

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There have been rallies in support of President Rousseff

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And also demonstrations calling for her impeachment.

During this time, Vice-President Michel Temer would take over as acting president.

However, Mr Temer could also face impeachment proceedings of his own.

On Tuesday, a Supreme Court justice said a congressional committee should be set up to investigate if there were grounds to impeach Mr Temer.

The allegations against him also relate to the manipulation of government accounts, which he has denied.

The two men next in line to stand in for Ms Rousseff should she be suspended are also facing legal trouble over allegations of corruption.

The speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, and Senate speaker Renan Calheiros, are under investigation in connection with a massive corruption scandal at state-oil company Petrobras.

They both deny any wrongdoing.

Ms Rousseff has likened the moves to impeach her to a “coup attempt” and is lobbying hard to get the 172 votes needed to block her impeachment in the lower house.

She has also dismissed calls by an opposition senator for a snap election to be held in October to end the political impasse.

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