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Rousseff’s impeachment to go ahead

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff  during a ceremony to announce the creation of new public universities, at  Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on May 9, 2016. The impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was thrown into confusion when Waldir Maranhao, the interim speaker of the lower house of Congress annulled on May 9, 2016 an April vote by lawmakers to launch the process. He wrote in an order that a new vote should take place on whether to impeach Rousseff.  / AFP PHOTO / EVARISTO SA

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during a ceremony to announce the creation of new public universities, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on May 9, 2016.<br />The impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was thrown into confusion when Waldir Maranhao, the interim speaker of the lower house of Congress annulled on May 9, 2016 an April vote by lawmakers to launch the process. He wrote in an order that a new vote should take place on whether to impeach Rousseff. / AFP PHOTO / EVARISTO SA

The interim speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress on Tuesday said he had reversed a decision to annul the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Waldir Maranhao said in a statement that he “reversed the decision” on Monday to cancel the April vote by lawmakers that launched the process, a formality that clears the way for Rousseff’s impeachment to go ahead, Brazilian media reported.

His move comes after Senate president Renan Calheiros on Monday dismissed Maranhao’s annulment, saying the Senate would still go ahead with the impeachment.

The vote against Rousseff is back on track after descending into confusion Monday with Congress’s two leaders arguing over whether it should continue.

Rousseff faces being suspended from office if the Senate votes — as now appears likely — to open an impeachment trial at a session starting Wednesday.

However, in a stunning twist of events on Monday, Maranhao had declared that the whole process was flawed and should be brought back to square one.

The original vote by lower house deputies sending Rousseff to face the Senate had “prejudged” the president and denied her “the right to a full defense,” Maranhao said.

He called for the Senate to halt proceedings and for the lower house to hold a new vote.

The order prompted consternation in the capital, with Rousseff’s allies seeing a possible escape route for the president and her opponents reacting furiously.

Rousseff huddled in an emergency meeting with ministers and all eyes turned to see how the Senate would react.

Calheiros did not take long.

“I ignore” the order, Calheiros said in a nationally televised session to raucous applause and angry shouting from rival senators on the floor.

Calheiros called Maranhao’s intervention in the impeachment drama “absolutely untimely” and “playing with democracy.”


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