Brazil's Rousseff lacks Senate votes to defeat impeachment- senator
By Anthony Boadle and Tatiana Bautzer
BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, March 20 (Reuters) - Brazil's ruling coalition lacks the votes in the Senate to defeat a request to remove left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff from office if it is approved by the lower house, a senior senator in the coalition's largest party said on Sunday.
The leading member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the issue, told Reuters the coalition could not rally the one-third of votes needed in the 81-seat Senate to stop Rousseff being dismissed.
On Sunday, Estadao newspaper quoted sources close to Senate Speaker Renan Calheiros, also a member of the PMDB, as saying he believed that if the lower house approves the ongoing impeachment process it would create an unstoppable wave of support for removing Rousseff.
A spokesman for Calheiros was not immediately available for comment.
Congress' lower house opened impeachment proceedings last week against the unpopular Rousseff based on opposition allegations that she deliberately manipulated government accounts to boost her chances of reelection to a second term in 2014.
Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla who is Brazil's first female president, has vigorously denied any wrongdoing.
The impeachment process only adds to the crisis that has hit Brazil, shaken to the core by its biggest ever corruption scandal - an investigation into political kickbacks to the ruling coalition from contractors working for state oil company Petrobras.
Rousseff's government is also grappling with the worst recession in decades in Latin America's largest economy and an epidemic of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, as it scrambles to host the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. Continuación...