Brazil’s highest court convened on Thursday to debate a recent motion from President Dilma Rousseff to dismiss her impeachment.
A legal official in her government said that the process was “contaminated.” Justices started by debating whether or not the process established was invalid, as proposed by Rousseff and her team of delegates.
Originally, Cunha arranged the vote for legislators from the industrial and rich south, where the opposition is strongest, to go first. While the justices were meeting, Cunha’s lawyer presented a different plan that would alternate between the south and the north, where Rousseff would draw more support. Supreme Court justices had not been expected to rule on Thursday, but then Ricardo Lewandowski, the chief justice, said that “exceptional situations require exceptional measures.” The judges were expected to discuss throughout the night.
The sudden meeting shed light on the vast discrepancies in political beliefs that divide Brazil.
Rousseff impeachment came about when senators claimed that she had broken fiscal rules. Earlier Thursday, Solicitor General Jose Eduardo Cardozo filed the annulment motion to the court. He contested that Cunha had presented the impeachment push in such a way that went beyond the actual accusations against Rousseff.
Cardozo made a similar claim about the report submitted to the special congressional committee that voted Monday to send the impeachment measure to the full Chamber of Deputies. He said that the judges ultimately concluded that the way in which the impeachment was proposed was problematic. “We are not talking about the merits of impeachment” but rather the process, Cardozo told reporters in Brasilia.
If the Supreme Court decided to annul the latest procedures, the entire process would been thrown back a couple of steps. For instance, the special commission might be required to consider a revised report on Rousseff.
“Political observers interpreted the government’s moves as a last-minute final effort to avoid a first major defeat in the process. The pro-impeachment camp needs two-thirds of the 513 votes in the lower house, or 342 votes, to send the proceedings to the Senate for a possible trial. If the Senate takes it up, Rousseff would be forced to step down until the measure was voted on.” According to the Associated Press.
Both government and opposition forces believe that they have enough votes to ultimately overturn or pass the measure, but only time will tell.