On Wednesday evening, the President of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil Eduardo Cunha, authorised the initiation of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.
During a press conference held at Congress, Cunha stated that his decision was not politically motivated. “It’s a challenging decision that requires a deep reflection,” he stated, adding “Never in the duration of my mandate have I received so many impeachment requests.”
Opposition parties had petitioned the proceedings back in September, arguing that the incumbent president has infringed the country’s tax laws and manipulated public finances in order to seek reelection in 2014.
President Rousseff, who was taking part in the COP21 climate change talks in Paris, gave a public address in which she is quoted as saying, “I have received with outrage the decision by the [Chamber of Deputies] to launch an impeachment process. There is no wrongful act committed by me, nor are there any suspicions I have misused public money.”
Political analysts say Rousseff has long butted heads with Cunha, who has also been embroiled in the Petrobras scandal and accused of accepting bribes. Some have suggested his act was performed in “self-defence”, as members of the congress’ ethics committee had just announced their plan to seek his dismissal based on these accounts.
The future of President Rousseff is now in the hands of a special committee composed by members of all the political parties in Brazil. They will analyse the merit of the impeachment request, which will need at least two-thirds of the Chamber of Deputies’ votes to successfully issue a suspension of Rousseff’s presidential duties while a 90-day-long trial is held at the Senate. Michel Tenel, the vice-President, would take over her mandate.