Brazil’s Senate opened debate Wednesday ahead of a vote on suspending President Dilma Rousseff and launching an impeachment trial that could bring down the curtain on 13 years of leftist rule in Latin America’s biggest country.
Even allies of Rousseff, 68, said she had no chance of surviving the vote. She is accused of illegal accounting maneuvers but says the charges are trumped up and amount to a coup d’etat by her center-right opponents.
Debate was expected to last all day with a vote during the night or early hours of Thursday. A simple majority in the 81 member Senate would be enough to trigger Rousseff’s six-month suspension pending judgment, in which a two thirds majority would force her from office permanently.
Senate President Renan Calheiros, who was overseeing the proceedings, told journalists that impeachment would be “traumatic” for Brazil, which is already struggling with the worst recession in decades and a corruption scandal that has ripped apart the political and business elite.
“The process of impeachment… is long, traumatic and does not produce quick results,” Calheiros warned.