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Rousseff asks supreme court to stop impeachment

By Reuters - Apr 14,2016 - Last updated at Apr 14,2016

BRASILIA —Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff resorted to the supreme court on Thursday in a last ditch attempt to avert likely defeat in a critical impeachment vote in congress that could lead to her removal from office.

Rousseff's attorney general, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, asked the top court for an injunction to suspend Sunday's lower house vote until the full court can rule on what he called procedural irregularities in the impeachment process.

Rousseff, already struggling with Brazil's worst economic crisis in decades and a historic corruption scandal, has lost support within her governing coalition. She faces the growing likelihood of defeat in the lower house vote, which would send her impeachment to the senate for trial on charges of breaking budget laws.

If the senate accepts her impeachment, Rousseff would be suspended and replaced by Vice President Michel Temer as soon as early May pending a trial that could last six months.

Brazil's largest political party, Rousseff's main coalition partner until it broke away two weeks ago, said most of its members in the lower house will back her impeachment.

Leonardo Picciani, the lower chamber leader for the party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, told reporters that 90 per cent of the 68 members of his caucus would vote to impeach Rousseff.

Rousseff met with her political advisers as her government scrambled to win over undecided voters to block impeachment, but defections by several centrist allies in her diminishing coalition have seriously compromised that effort.

Rousseff's opponents are just nine votes short of victory in the lower house, with 333 lawmakers backing impeachment, 124 opposed and 56 undecided or declining to respond, according to a survey by the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.

Cardozo asked the supreme court to annul the report to the lower house by a congressional committee that recommended on Monday that Rousseff be impeached. He said her defence had been obstructed in the committee and that testimony from a plea bargain by a former ally turned critic, Senator Delcidio Amaral, should not have been added to the case.


Rousseff had not been expected to resort to the supreme court until after Sunday's vote. Cardozo's request for an injunction was seen as a sign her government now expects defeat.

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