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Brazil committee recommends President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment

A Brazilian congressional committee has advocated the prosecution of President Dilma Rousseff. The decision sets the stage for a crucial vote in the lower house to decide whether she should face trial.

The committee voted on Monday by 38 to 27 in favor of sending the impeachment question on President Dilma Rousseff to the full Chamber of Deputies. Brazil's full lower house is now expected to vote on the impeachment proceedings on Sunday.

A two-thirds majority in the Chamber of Deputies would send Rousseff's case to the Senate. The chamber would then have the power to put her on trial and ultimately drive her from office. Anything less would result in the case being dropped.

According to latest survey of the lower house's 513 deputies, published by "Estadao" daily on Monday, 298 are currently in favor of Rousseff's prosecution - still short of the 342 needed to carry the motion.

Dilma Rousseff

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is accused of masking budget shortfalls

The count showed 119 opposed the president's impeachment, with 172 required to impose a defeat - leaving the result in the hands of the 96 deputies who were still undecided or didn't state a position.

Rousseff accuses opposition of 'coup d'etat'

The Brazilian opposition accuses Rousseff, whose popularity has waned during Brazil's recession, of masking budget shortfalls during her 2014 re-election campaign.

The president insists, however, that she has committed no crime worthy of prosecution. She claims the right-wing opposition has begun efforts toward a legislative coup d'etat, in a bid to install a president who would be cozier with business.

After Brazil's worst recession in decades and a wide ranging corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras that's undermined Rousseff's support, polls show more than two-thirds of Brazilians support the president's impeachment.

ksb/rc (Reuters, AFP)