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Rousseff takes the stand on Monday, following the round of defense witnesses

Sunday, August 28th 2016 - 03:56 UTC
Full article 32 comments
Tension is building ahead of Monday when Rousseff, from the leftist Workers' Party, will take the stand for the first time and face her accusers. Tension is building ahead of Monday when Rousseff, from the leftist Workers' Party, will take the stand for the first time and face her accusers.
“There is nothing remotely illegal,” Nelson Barbosa said. “You cannot act retroactively with a new interpretation of the law.” “There is nothing remotely illegal,” Nelson Barbosa said. “You cannot act retroactively with a new interpretation of the law.”
Rousseff and Lula are blamed for Brazil's economic shambles tainted by the revelation of a gigantic corruption scheme at Petrobras Rousseff and Lula are blamed for Brazil's economic shambles tainted by the revelation of a gigantic corruption scheme at Petrobras
Final arguments will follow Rousseff's testimony, then the voting session, plus speeches by each senator, with the final result expected Tuesday or Wednesday. Final arguments will follow Rousseff's testimony, then the voting session, plus speeches by each senator, with the final result expected Tuesday or Wednesday.

Suspended Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff's former economy minister testified Saturday that Rousseff did not break any laws justifying impeachment, as her trial closed in on next week's climax. Rousseff is accused of taking illegal state loans to help bridge budget shortfalls and mask the true state of the economy during her 2014 reelection campaign. The president argues the charges are trumped up and amount to a rightwing coup.

 Former economy minister Nelson Barbosa and Rio State University law professor Ricardo Lodi were the final defense witnesses brought to testify that Rousseff did not break the law or harm the economy, which is now in deep recession

“There is nothing remotely illegal,” Barbosa said. “You cannot act retroactively with a new interpretation of the law.”

The same argument was delivered Friday by a first batch of Rousseff witnesses who said that such budgetary maneuvers have long been common practice and that Brazil's economic decline was entirely unrelated.

Her accusers laid out their case on the trial's opening day Thursday, arguing that Rousseff was criminally irresponsible and helped run once booming Brazil into the ground.

Tension is building ahead of Monday when Rousseff, from the leftist Workers' Party, will take the stand for the first time and face her accusers.

She will be accompanied by her mentor and predecessor in the presidency, Lula da Silva. Lula rose from poverty to found the Workers' Party and become one of Brazil's most popular presidents ever before helping Rousseff take his place.

The once all-powerful pair are now demonized by the middle class, blamed for Brazil's economic shambles and tainted by the revelation of a gigantic corruption scheme at state oil giant Petrobras which peaked during the Lula presidency.

Lula's presence and Rousseff's allegations of a plot to destroy 13 years of Workers' Party rule will make for a highly charged atmosphere in the deeply divided Senate where a shouting match broke out Friday, forcing the session to be suspended.

Final arguments will follow Rousseff's testimony, then the voting session, which will include speeches by each senator, with the final result expected Tuesday or Wednesday.

Two thirds or 54 out of the 81 senators must vote for impeachment to force Rousseff's immediate removal. The latest estimates by opposition senators and major Brazilian newspapers is that the pro-impeachment side is on track to win.

The current acting president Michel Temer -- Rousseff's former vice president turned bitter enemy -- would then be sworn in to occupy the post until 2018 elections. Since he took over the temporary job with Rousseff's suspension in May, Temer has installed a new center-right cabinet with a market-friendly message that has won plaudits from investors.

Brazil's economy shrank 3.8% in 2015 and is forecast to drop a further 3.3% this year, a historic recession. Inflation stands at around 9% and unemployment at 11%.

Top Comments

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  • :o))

    If what she did really is illegal; why is everyone beating around a bush for such a long time, to kick her out?

    Why are most of the crooks still free?

    Aug 28th, 2016 - 11:14 am 0
  • Terence Hill

    “The Brazilian constitution calls for the impeachment and removal from office of a president who breaches the fiscal responsibility law”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-rousseff-impeachment-idUSKCN0QG0BS20150811
    You get such statements for example, from Reuters, but a check of the constitution shows this not case, as its silent on the issue. So for an interpretation under the fiscal responsibility law to amount to an application for impeachment. It would require a 'notwithstanding' clause in relationship to constitution, which is also lacking.
    Should she be allowed to do what she did? I don't believe so, as it appears it was a deliberate deception. But, what ever censure is applied it must firmly stand on legal grounds, not political ones. As the constitution doesn't allow for a simple none-confidence vote. As such an option in the constitution was rejected, mores the pity as it would have enabled a perfectly legal solution.

    Aug 28th, 2016 - 01:56 pm 0
  • :o))

    More protection to the crooks - this is exactly what happens when the constitution and the laws are specifically written to protect the corrupt!

    Brazil is one of the highest taxed countries. Has anyone ever tried to learn - take good examples - from the other countries to reduce the taxes and improve the quality of life [standard of living]?

    Aug 28th, 2016 - 05:05 pm 0
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