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Brazilian Lawmakers Back Impeachment for President

  • VOA News

Brazil Political Crisis: Pro-government demonstrators react as they watch on a screen, as lawmakers vote on whether or not to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, April 17, 2016.

Brazil Political Crisis: Pro-government demonstrators react as they watch on a screen, as lawmakers vote on whether or not to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, April 17, 2016.

Brazilian lawmakers have voted to back the impeachment process for President Dilma Rousseff.

The lower house of Congress voted late Sunday to send the matter to the Senate, which will consider whether to put Rousseff on trial.

A two-thirds majority, or 342 of 513 members, was needed to send the matter to the Senate.

One by one, the chamber's 513 deputies rose to announce their vote at a microphone, greeted by cheers and sometimes jeers from the rest of the members. A two-thirds majority, or 342 of 513 members, was needed to send the matter to the senate, which will consider whether to put Rousseff on trial.

As the vote neared 342 in favor of impeachment, Workers' Party leader in the House Jose Guimaraes said, "The coup plotters have won." He called it a "temporary defeat" and said it does not mean the war is over.

"The fight will continue in the streets and in the senate," he said.

Opposition to Rousseff has increased in recent months, with accusations that she illegally covered up government budget shortfalls in 2014 to increase her chances for reelection. Rousseff denies the accusations.

Her critics blame her for the country's recession and a massive corruption scandal involving state oil company Petrobras.

The 68-year-old leader was first elected in 2010, then again in 2014, continuing 13 years of leadership by the leftist Workers' Party.

The first in line to carry out the remaining two years of her mandate would be Vice President Michael Temer of the Brazilian Democratic Movement, whom Rousseff has accused of being part of the movement to remove her from office.

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