Committee recommends impeaching Brazil's Dilma Rousseff

Committee votes 38-27 to recommend impeaching Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff as political crisis deepens.

    Committee recommends impeaching Brazil's Dilma Rousseff
    Rousseff's chief of staff said the president was "perplexed and saddened" by the committee vote [AP]

    A committee of Brazil's lower house of Congress has recommended the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, who faces charges of breaking budget laws to support her re-election in 2014.

    The committee voted 38-27 in favour of the move, with a vote in the full lower house expected to take place on Sunday. If two thirds vote in favour, the impeachment will be sent to the Senate.

    If the upper house decides by a simple majority to put Rousseff on trial, she will immediately be suspended for up to six months while the Senate decides her fate, and Vice President Michel Temer will take office as acting president.

    WATCH: Is this Dilma Rousseff's Watergate? 

    Dilma Rousseff's Watergate? - The Listening Post (Full)

    It would be the first impeachment of a Brazilian president since 1992 when Fernando Collor de Mello faced massive protests over corruption charges and resigned moments before his conviction by the Senate.

    Rousseff's chief of staff, Jaques Wagner, said the president was "perplexed and saddened" by the committee vote. A former leftist guerrilla, she has denied any wrongdoing and rallied the rank and file of her Workers' Party to oppose what she has called a coup against a democratically elected president.

    Rousseff, caught in a political storm fuelled by Brazil's worst recession in decades and the country's biggest corruption scandal, has lost key coalition allies in Congress, including her main partner, vice president Temer's PMDB party.

    Billions in bribes

    The rift between Rousseff and her vice president reached new highs on Monday after an audio message of Temer calling for a government of national unity was released - apparently by mistake. 

    Temer's 14-minute audio message sent to members of his own PMDB party via WhatsApp messenger appeared to show him rehearsing an acceptance speech he would give if he took over.

    The latest moves in Brazil's political crisis have the country on edge as it faces not only a government meltdown but its worst recession in decades.

    WATCH: Dilma Rousseff talks to Al Jazeera

     The political chaos in the capital, Brasilia, is playing out less than 100 days before the nation hosts the first Olympic Games to be held in South America - an event that will cast the world's eyes on Brazil.

    The battle over Rousseff's impeachment has polarised the nation of 200 million people and brought the government of Latin America's largest economy to a virtual standstill.

    The proposed impeachment is also taking place as Brazil faces its largest corruption investigation, targeting a sprawling kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras.

    Prosecutors say billions of dollars in bribes were paid over several years and have implicated not only members of Rousseff's Workers' Party but members of the opposition leading the charge to impeach her.

    Eduardo Cunha, the speaker of Brazil's lower house, a Rousseff enemy who is guiding the impeachment proceedings, faces charges of accepting millions of dollars in bribes in connection to the Petrobras case, while the head of Brazil's Senate is also caught up in the investigation.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.