[Update: Late on Monday night, Lower House speaker Waldir Maranhão decided to revoke his own annulment of the impeachment process after the Senate refused to accept it. Senate vote on impeachment set to take place on Wednesday 11th May.]
Brazil’s political crisis took another twist today as acting speaker of the Lower House of Congress annulled last month’s impeachment vote against President Dilma Rousseff.
Waldir Maranhão said that there were procedural flaws in the 17th April vote, and added that the issue should return to the Lower House for another debate.
However, it is not clear whether the Senate, which was due to vote on the process this week, will accept the change. Senator Raimundo Lira, head of the Special Impeachment Commission, said that the vote would go ahead as planned.
Senate leader Renan Calheiros called an emergency session in response to Maranhão’s decision, stating that it was “untimely” and adding that it would not affect the Senate vote.
The decision has shocked many in Brazil who were preparing for the likelihood that Rousseff would be temporarily removed from office later this week.
Maranhão took on the role of interim speaker last week after House leader Eduardo Cunha was suspended for allegedly trying to block a corruption investigation against him. Cunha had been leading the charge to impeach President Rousseff, while Maranhão was one of a minority of legislators that voted against the measure.
Rousseff, who found out the news while holding a conference, called for caution. “I do not know what the consequences will be. Please be cautious; we are living in a web of tricks.”