Impeachment Proceedings Opened Against Brazil’s Rousseff

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -

Impeachment proceedings were opened Wednesday against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff by the speaker of the lower house of Congress, a sworn enemy of the beleaguered leader.

A special commission in which all political parties are represented must now weigh the decision of speaker Eduardo Cunha, who himself is facing corruption charges before the Supreme Court, to open the proceedings against Brazil’s president based on accusations her government broke fiscal responsibility laws. Rousseff sharply disputes the accusations.

While impeachment is expected to get by the commission, most political analysts say it’s unlikely to get the two-thirds vote of the lower house that would remove her from office temporarily. But if it does pass, the case would then go to the Senate to decide whether she should be removed permanently.

“The chances of President Rousseff being impeached aren’t as big as politicians say now, despite this bold move by Cunha,” said Luciano Dias, a political consultant at the Brasilia-based Analise Politica firm. “They are not insignificant, but they are not huge. There needs to be more than two-thirds of more than 500 deputies voting against her, and that number is very hard to reach.”

Rousseff began her second term in office on Jan. 1 and has been hobbled by a political corruption scandal centered around a kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras.