The 65-member National Congress of Brazil committee voted 38 to 27 to recommend impeachment proceedings against Rousseff over allegations she manipulated government financial accounts ahead of her reelection in 2014.
Although the committee’s vote is largely symbolic, it is being viewed as a test of how much support impeaching Rousseff can gain in congress.
Brazil’s lower house of congress — known as the Chamber of Deputies — is scheduled to hold a vote in the coming days on whether Rousseff should be impeached. The chamber would need a two-thirds majority for the measure to be sent to the upper chamber, known as the Federal Senate.
Opinion polls show a majority of members of the Chamber of Deputies would vote to impeach Rousseff, but it may not be enough to reach a two-thirds majority, as at least 100 of the chamber’s 513 members remain undecided.
Brazil’s Federal Senate has the power to put Rousseff on trial, to suspend her presidency or to remove her from office. The senate requires 41 senators out of 81 for an impeachment trial to begin but two-thirds of the senate would be required to remove her permanently.
Rousseff was previously exonerated by authorities, but senior members of her government have been charged. More than 39 people have been indicted on corruption, money laundering and racketeering over the scandal at Petrobras, a semi-public oil and gas company.
Tuesday, Rousseff addressed the scandal that is enveloping her administration, even passively accusing her vice president of rigging the movement against her in an act of “betrayal.”
The rhetoric against Michel Temer may have been spurred by media reports Monday that the vice president already seems to be mulling his ascension to the presidency.
“A statement was distributed in which one of the chiefs of the conspiracy pretends to be president of the republic,” Rousseff said, likely referring to Temer. “There can no longer be any doubt of my claims that there is a coup under way.”
Voting in Brazil’s lower chamber could begin as early as Friday.