Brazil may vote on Rousseff ouster during Olympics | News | DW | 30.06.2016
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Brazil may vote on Rousseff ouster during Olympics

A high-ranking Brazilian senator has told the press that the vote to impeach President Rousseff may take place the day before the Rio Olympics close. Rousseff was suspended from office last month.

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff could see herself permanently removed from office before the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro finish in August, according to Senate leader Renen Calheiros.

The lawmaker told the press on Wednesday that should impeachment proceedings follow the current schedule, the final vote could take place on August 20, one day before the Games' closing ceremony.

The country's Senate voted in May to temporarily remove Rousseff from office as she awaits trial for breaking budgetary laws, and the committee that has been recording witness testimony is set to present its findings on August 9.

According to newspaper surveys of senators, the country's first female president is likely to be found guilty during the impeachment vote. If this happens, she will be replaced by interim president and Rousseff's former deputy, Michel Temer. Rousseff has accused Temer, whose own young administration has already been plagued by corruption allegations of its own, of orchestrating a coup against her.

The Rio Olympics, which run from August 5 to 21, where originally meant to highlight a financial boom that had many touting the South American nation as an important emerging economy. But a series of political scandals, culminating in Rousseff's impeachment vote, have seen the economy dwindle - leading to a budget crisis in Rio that has hit public infrastructure hard.

These consequences have left many wondering if the city can handle the global sports tournament.

Olympic committee: Impeachment kills opportunity to showcase Brazil

Claheiros' comments fly in the face of an earlier appeal by the Games organizing committee, who had asked the Senate to vote on Rousseff's ouster either before or after the event. On Tuesday, Sidney Levy said he "asked informally" that Temer either speed up the proceedings, or wait to go through with them until after the Olympics had concluded.

Rio 2016 Sambodromo

Levy bemoaned the "loss of opportunity" to show the world what Brazil has to offer

Levy stressed that while he spoke "as a Brazilian" and not a political authority, be believed holding an impeachment vote during the event would be a "distraction" and a "waste of energy" for the public. Voting during the Olympics would kill the opportunity presented by the Games not only to show the world the best side of Brazil, but also to provide a welcome, positive distraction for a public sick of political turmoil.

Of the 95 heads of state the organizing committee had planned on attending the opening ceremony, only 60 have confirmed their attendance. Levy is currently in the United States hoping to set the record straight on the dangers posed by the Zika virus, another factor threatening the visibility of the Games as well as the number of international visitors.

es/ (AP, Reuters)

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