The drive to impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is going down to the wire as lawmakers and protesters descend on the lower house of Congress this Sunday for a vote that looks too close to call.
Peaceful demonstrations for and against Rousseff’s ouster are taking place in several Brazilian cities. The bulk of the protests are scheduled to coincide with the beginning of the congressional session at 2 p.m. local time, which will be televised live. Newspaper surveys showed the opposition has only a few votes more than the two-thirds majority needed among 513 deputies to put Rousseff to trial in the Senate. Most analysts agree that if Rousseff were to lose today, it would be very difficult for her to avoid being ousted in the Senate.
Sunday’s vote “is huge — it really is,” said Melvyn Levitsky, a former U.S. ambassador to Brazil and a professor of international policy and practice at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. “Brazil hasn’t faced a crisis like this — not this bad.”