Congress to vote on impeaching Rousseff in divided Brazil

domingo 17 de abril de 2016 01:00 GYT

By Anthony Boadle and Marcela Ayres

BRASILIA, April 17 (Reuters) - Brazil's lower house of Congress will decide on Sunday whether to recommend impeaching President Dilma Rousseff on charges of manipulating budgetary accounts, in a vote that could hasten the end of 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule.

The political crisis, which comes amid Brazil's worst recession since the 1930s, has deeply divided the South American country and sparked an acrimonious fight between Rousseff and her Vice President Michel Temer, who would take over if she is dismissed.

In a frenzied round of last minute deal-making on Saturday, Rousseff appeared to have clawed back the votes of some wavering lawmakers but still appeared to lack the one-third of votes needed in the 513-seat lower house to avoid being sent for trial in the Senate.

Rousseff's charismatic predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, led the deal-making to keep her in office and drafted in governors from several states to pressure legislators on Saturday, swinging the momentum back in Rousseff's favour.

"The governors' participation is proving decisive," said Paulo Teixeira, one of the Workers' Party's leaders in the lower house.

Thousands of police were due to deploy in the capital Brasilia on Sunday, and in the mega-cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where hundreds of thousands of pro- and anti-impeachment demonstrators were expected to take to the streets.

A 2-metre (6.5-foot) high wall outside Congress, stretching for more than 1 km (0.6 of a mile) on the grassy esplanade between rows of ministries, showed the stark political divide in what remains one of the world's most unequal societies.

Polls suggest that more than 60 percent of Brazil's 200 million people support impeaching Rousseff, whose inner circle has been tainted by a vast corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras.   Continuación...