Brazil impeachment battle rests on a handful of votes

Anti-government demonstrators attend a protest against Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff in downtown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 4, 2016.



With neither side commanding enough firm support in the battle to impeach Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, the outcome of a crucial vote in Congress this month may boil down to a handful of no-shows and abstentions.

Brazil’s lower house is due to vote within two weeks on a committee report about whether Rousseff, the country’s first female president, broke fiscal laws to secure her 2014 re-election.

With her allies wavering following mass protests against her scandal-hit government, Rousseff risks losing the impeachment vote in the 513-seat lower house. The Eurasia consultancy calculates the odds of her defeat at 60-70 percent.

If the Senate agrees to put her on trial, Rousseff would be suspended from office. Financial markets favor her impeachment on hopes her substitute, Vice President Michel Temer, would introduce more-business-friendly policies.

Yet polls suggest her opponents have not secured the 342 votes – two-thirds of the chamber – they need to take impeachment to this stage.

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