Brazil Lawmakers Start Impeachment Session in Split Nation

Brazil’s lower house of Congress started a marathon session that will lead to a crucial impeachment vote on Sunday, following months of intense debate that has left Latin America’s largest nation deeply divided.

The Supreme Court early Friday rejected a government motion trying to stop the session, paving the way for a vote that leading local papers say President Dilma Rousseff will lose. Tallies by O Globo and O Estado de S. Paulo newspapers showed that the opposition had surpassed the 342 votes necessary to move the impeachment process into the Senate. There, only a simple majority is required to remove her temporarily. Two thirds of the senators are needed to force her out of office permanently.

Brazilians are looking to Congress to end a political stalemate that has exacerbated the country’s worst recession in over a century. Financial markets have rallied on the prospect of her more business-friendly Vice President Michel Temer taking over. The benchmark Ibovespa index gained 1.4 percent by midday to trade near nine-month highs.

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