UPDATE 2-Brazil's Congress names impeachment panel stacked against Rousseff

martes 8 de diciembre de 2015 22:41 GYT

* Opposition wins 272-199 in controversial vote

* Secret ballot reveals deep splits in key gov't ally PMDB

* Veteran lawmaker in graft probe reportedly opts for plea (Adds details of Supreme Court proceedings)

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The lower house of Brazil's Congress voted on Tuesday to appoint a committee stacked with opponents of President Dilma Rousseff to study whether to impeach her for breaking budget rules, in a blow to the leftist leader battling for political survival.

By secret ballot, lawmakers voted 272-199 for a list of committee members drawn up by the opposition and pro-impeachment members of the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), the biggest party in Rousseff's governing coalition.

It was a clear defeat for Rousseff in the first battle of an impeachment process started last week, which threatens to paralyze Congress for months, distracting policymakers from Brazil's worst recession in decades.

Controversy over the vote descended into chaos on the floor of the house, as lawmakers outraged by the secret ballot smashed an electronic voting urn, while pro-impeachment parties waved a flag in celebration of the win.

Rousseff's supporters in Congress appealed to the Supreme Court in protest of the voting procedure. Several newspapers reported near midnight local time that a Supreme Court justice had suspended impeachment proceedings for a week. Court representatives could not be reached immediately for comment.   Continuación...