UPDATE 3-Brazil's top court suspends impeachment of Rousseff
(Adds meeting between Rousseff and Vice President Temer, paragraphs 19-20)
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA Dec 9 (Reuters) - Brazil's Supreme Court suspended impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff until it rules on the validity of a secret ballot that stacked a congressional committee with opponents seeking to oust the leftist leader.
The ruling provided respite for Rousseff as she struggles to survive splits in her ruling coalition and fend off the effort to unseat her. She is also dealing with a severe recession and a widening corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras that has implicated many of her allies.
Rousseff is not under investigation in the kickback scandal. But her former point man in the Senate, Delcidio Amaral, who is in jail awaiting trial on charges of obstructing the Petrobras probe, has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. That could lead to new disclosures involving her ruling Workers' Party (PT).
The decision by a Supreme Court judge late on Tuesday stopped the creation of the impeachment committee until the country's top court rules on Dec. 16 whether the secret ballot was valid.
Justice Luiz Edson Fachin, who was appointed by Rousseff, said the impeachment process had to be suspended to avoid actions that might later be invalidated by the Supreme Court.
The ruling could favor Rousseff by curbing the power of her political foe, lower house Speaker Eduardo Cunha, who called a secret ballot to allow wavering members of Rousseff's coalition to back a pro-impeachment committee without public record.
Cunha, who himself faces allegations of corruption, launched the impeachment proceedings last week based on an opposition accusation that the president violated budget laws with accounting tricks employed by her government to allow ramped up spending during her re-election campaign last year. Continuación...