Update 2: While the official voting process continues and still about another 40 or so votes are needed before the formal threshold to impeach Dilma Rousseff of 342 is crossed, moments ago the leader of Rousseff's lower house party, Gumaraes, threw in the towel and admitted the vote is lost:
- ROUSSEFF'S LOWER HOUSE LEADER SAYS IMPEACHMENT VOTE IS LOST
- BRAZIL'S GUIMARAES: THE COUP PLANNERS WON IN THE LOWER HOUSE
What happens next? The Senate showdown, and Rousseff who as we warned previously, will not go quietly:
- GUIMARAES: IT WILL BE A SLOW, GRADUAL, SECURE, PROLONGED WAR
For now however, bizarro world continues and as Brazil is about to plunge into an even deeper political crisis, the Brazilian stock ETF has surged 4.5% in Japan trading on hopes the removal of Rousseff will somehow fix the Brazilian economy overnight. It won't, and if anything the 2016 Olympic games now appear more in jeopardy than ever.
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Update: moments ago the Brazilian Congress began its impeachment vote. 504 members of the lower house of Congress are present for the vote, with nine absent. It appears that the 500+ members of Brazil's lower house will vote 1-by-1, giving little mini-speeches each time.As we reported earlier below, newspaper surveys showed the opposition has only a few votes more than the two-thirds majority needed among 513 deputies to put Rousseff to trial in the Senate.
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As reported on Friday afternoon, ahead of Dilma Rousseff's impeachment vote to be held in Brazil's Congress later today, a critical threshold was passed when, according to local Folha newspaper, more than the required 342 votes had been gathered.
Sure enough, today all the main Brazilian newspapers dedicate their entire covers to impeachment, with Folha and Estado bringing nominal list of lawmakers’ expected votes for and against, Bloomberg reports. Furthermore, according to the latest tallies from Folha, Estado and Globo the "For" impeachment vote is currently anywhere between 347 and 350 votes, above the 342 needed.
But while the popular sentiment is largely in the pro-impeachment camp (even if many of those standing to benefit from Rousseff's ouster have been alleged to be as corrupt with participation in either the Carwash scandal, or to have funds parked in various offshore accounts), Rousseff refuses to go without a fight and earlier today Attorney General Jose Eduardo Cardozo wrote an op-ed in Folha saying the impeachment won’t pass if lower house respects constitution, adding that "whatever decision lower house makes today won’t solve Brazil’s political, economic and moral issues" and that many lawmakers show they don’t know the crimes on which impeachment request is based.
He is probably correct.
Meanwhile, PP, the party on which govt was relying on after PMDB split, may have 100% of its votes against Rousseff.
Bloomberg notes that if Rousseff survives the impeachment vote today, Rousseff plans calling meeting with opposition leaders including PSDB’s Aecio Neves and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and adds that if the govt loses, it will likely focus attacks on Temer to try and stop process in the Senate.
For now however it is all about the Congressional vote, whose impeachment session started moments ago with the following headline:
- BRAZIL LAWMAKERS IN SHOVING MATCH AS IMPEACHMENT SESSION STARTS
Let the games begin (with shoving and shouting) pic.twitter.com/wJ8yzYRwIg— Jan Piotrowski (@janppiotrowski) April 17, 2016
Expect more of the same for the next several hours.
Live feed from Brazil's capital Brasilia below where thousands are already gathering ahead of tonight's session which is expected to continue until around 10pm local time according to Eduardo Cunha, president of the chamber of deputies.