Observers say recent events have increased the chances of Brazil’s president being forced from office.
The experts are saying that President Dilma Rousseff could face impeachment. Rousseff has long been accused of illegal financial activities involving the government-operated energy company Petrobras.
Brazilian courts say she used government money in her presidential re-election campaign last year. In addition, many Brazilians are unhappy with government efforts to strengthen the country’s economy.
In March, an estimated one million Brazilians joined protests to demand the president’s removal from office. The newspaper O Globo reported that the biggest protest was in Sao Paulo, where more than 100,000 demonstrators gathered. They protested against higher taxes, poor public services and rising fuel prices.
Last month, Brazilian courts said they would launch an investigation of the president's election campaign accounts from last year. Political observer Lucas de Aragão described the court’s decision as the "most serious challenge to Rousseff.” He added that “it alleges she doctored government accounts to allow for more spending in the run-up to her re-election a year ago."
Aragão noted that any citizen can present a request for Dilma Rousseff's impeachment to the Brazilian House of Representatives. But the request must be for a legal reason, such as the illegal use of money for a campaign or involvement in the Petrobras scandal.
The president of the House, Eduardo Cunha, would need to approve the move.
If Cunha agrees, the request would go to the 513-member National Congress. They would have to vote on its legitimacy. For the process to continue, two-thirds of the Congress, or 342 Congressmen, would have to vote in support of the request. The process then would move on to Brazil’s Senate.
Two-thirds of the Senate, or 54 Senators, have to approve the process within 180 days. During that time, the president would be temporarily out of office. If the process is approved, Dilma Rousseff would be impeached.
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Jonathan Evans reported on this story from Washington using information from the Reuter news service, IBTimes and O Globo news services. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
doctor – v. to change something, especially in order to trick or deceive people
impeach – v. to charge (a public official) with criminal activity while in office
scandal – n. something that is shocking or unacceptable
legitimacy – n. legality; the quality of state of being legal
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