Brazil's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal to stop impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff. The embattled president is fighting to stay in power amid accusations she broke fiscal rules.
Brazil's Supreme Court on Friday rejected a last-ditch attempt by President Dilma Rousseff to halt impeachment proceedings against her.
The move clears the way for a crucial Sunday vote by the lower house of Congress on whether to send Rousseff to impeachment trial.
Brazil's Supreme Court met in an extraordinary session late on Thursday night to consider the motion by Rousseff to suspend the impeachment vote.
The meeting of 10 justices began with a discussion over whether procedures established for Sunday's ballot by speaker of the lower house Eduardo Cunha, a key Rousseff rival, were valid.
The pro-impeachment camp needs the support of two-thirds of the lower house of parliament - or 342 of the 513 votes - to send the proceedings to the Senate. If the Senate votes to open an impeachment trial, Rousseff would be suspended from office for six months. That would mean she wouldn't be able to open the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.
The embattled president has been facing pressure to resign for months, accused of acting illegally to mask the extent of the budget deficit during her re-election campaign in 2014.
'A truly Kafkaesque process'
In the annulment motion filed to the Supreme Court on Thursday, Rousseff's attorney general, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, wrote: "I'm not trying to gain time, I am just fighting for what I consider to be legal."
He called the impeachment drive "a truly Kafkaesque process in which the accused is unable to know precisely what she is accused of or why."
Several of the parties in Rousseff's coalition have decided to break ties with her leftist Workers' Party in recent weeks, including the PMDB of her vice president, Michel Temer. Scores of lawmakers have also turned against her, vowing to vote for impeachment.
Fighting for survival
If impeachment proceedings do go ahead, Temer would take over as president while the process runs its course.
Rousseff has labeled Temer a traitor who is leading a "coup" against her, together with Cunha. In an interview published by Brazilian media, Rousseff vowed not to back down, but repeated an offer to forge a compromise with opponents if she survives the key vote on Sunday.
"The government will fight until the last minute of the second half... to foil this coup attempt," she said.
Demonstrations both for and against Rousseff's leadership are expected to take place in Brazil on Sunday.
nm/cmk (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP)