Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff launches late bid to block impeachment

Brasilia: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff launched a late bid to escape an impeachment vote, seeking a court injunction to halt the proceedings after key allies deserted her.

The 68-year-old leftist leader's grip on power was slipping in a political and economic crisis rocking Latin America's biggest country less than four months before it hosts the Olympics.

Rousseff had been scratching around for support in the lower house of congress, which is scheduled to vote Sunday on whether to move forward with impeachment proceedings.

A file photo of President Dilma Rousseff. AP

A file photo of President Dilma Rousseff. AP

Yesterday, she launched a fresh line of defense. Her government's top lawyer, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, filed for an
injunction to halt the weekend's proceedings.

A special Supreme Court session was underway Thursday night to examine the request.

Rousseff is fighting to save her presidency over charges that she illegally manipulated government accounts to mask the effects of recession during her 2014 re-election and in 2015.

The government's appeal alleged procedural failings in the case against Rousseff, saying it had violated her right to a defense.

"Evidence unrelated to the case has been included in the process, such as matters related to President Dilma (Rousseff)'s previous term," Cardozo said in the filing.

He called the impeachment drive "a truly Kafkaesque process in which the accused is unable to know precisely what she is accused of or why."

Rousseff has vowed not to back down but repeated an offer to forge a political compromise with opponents if she survives the key vote on Sunday.

"The government will fight until the last minute of the second half... to foil this coup attempt," she said in an interview published by various media outlets.

Rousseff yesterday held a meeting with ministers and some of the lawmakers still loyal to her, a presidential source said, shortly before Cardozo announced his appeal.

Several of the parties in Rousseff's coalition have jumped ship, starting with the PMDB of her vice president, Michel Temer.

Scores of lawmakers have turned against Rousseff, saying they will vote for impeachment.

The number of lawmakers who could vote against her on Sunday has crept close to the two-thirds majority of 342 lawmakers needed to pass the impeachment motion up to the Senate.

If the Senate, in turn, votes to open an impeachment trial, Rousseff would be suspended from office for six months. Temer would step into her place while the impeachment process runs its course.

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Updated Date: Apr 15, 2016 09:05:04 IST

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