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Brazil leader makes last-ditch appeal to stop impeachment

Update: May, 11/2016 - 11:15

BRASÍLIA — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court to halt a vote on Wednesday in the Senate on opening an impeachment trial and suspending her from office.

The court began considering the appeal on Tuesday, barely 12 hours before the Senate was due to begin its session in the capital Brasilia’s futuristic Congress building.

A spokesman for the court said that it was not known when the justice assigned to the case would issue an initial ruling.

Barring a dramatic twist in events, the Senate was to start debating at approximately 9am (1200 GMT), with voting expected hours later, possibly not until the early hours of Thursday.

For Rousseff, a one-time guerrilla tortured under Brazil’s military dictatorship in the 1970s, Wednesday could be her final day at the helm of Latin America’s biggest country.

She is accused of breaking budgetary laws. A majority of more than half of the 79 senators able to vote would trigger her automatic suspension for up to six months and the opening of a trial that could take several months.

Rousseff says she is the victim of a coup plotted by her vice president, Michel Temer, who will take power if she is suspended.

Temer, whose center-right PMDB party broke off its uneasy partnership with leftist Rousseff’s Workers’ Party, has already prepared a new government and says his priority will be to take action on the moribund Brazilian economy, now in its worst recession for decades.

Rousseff vows to resist.

"I am going to fight with all my strength, using all means available," she told a women’s forum in Brasilia on Tuesday in what could have been one of her last official events as president.

Rousseff called her opponents "people (who) can’t win the presidency through a popular vote" and claimed they had a "project to dismantle" social gains made by millions of poor during 13 years of Workers’ Party rule.

In an effort to cripple Temer’s ambitions, allies of Rousseff went to the top electoral court, Folha newspaper reported late on Tuesday, asking that the probable acting president be barred from appointing his own ministers.  AFP

 

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