.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
World

Brazil's President Is One Step Closer To Being Impeached

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We've been looking up some basic facts about Brazil.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It has the largest land mass of any South American country.

INSKEEP: It has the largest population, about 200 million.

MONTAGNE: Its economy is huge, bigger than India or Russia.

INSKEEP: So it's a big deal that Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, is one step closer to being impeached. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports a congressional committee voted for that.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEBATE)

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: It was an acrimonious unruly debate. At one point on live television, rival congressmen tried to drown each other out, some shouting, no to the coup.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEBATE)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Others yelling, out Dilma.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEBATE)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The case against President Rousseff is considered legally insubstantial by many analysts. She's accused of juggling federal accounts to make the economy seem better than it was before her re-election in 2014. Her supporters say the attempt to oust a democratically elected leader is a coup. They point to the fact that many of the lawmakers judging her are implicated in corruption scandals themselves. The opposition say she's ruined the economy, and they've been emboldened by polls that show a majority of the country wants to see her removed from office.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEBATE)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: After hours of heated exchanges, which saw the chairman of the committee repeatedly pleading for calm, it came to a chaotic vote.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEBATE)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was a resounding defeat for the government that went worse than expected, 38-27. The committee's decision is nonbinding, and now the impeachment process heads to a full vote in the lower house of Congress, where it needs two-thirds to pass. Thiago de Aragao is a political analyst with Arko Group, a consultancy firm. He spoke from Brazilia, the capital, via Skype. He says things are unpredictable, but...

THIAGO DE ARAGAO: Right now it's slightly harder for the governments to reverse the pro-impeachment atmosphere in the House of Representatives than the other way around.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: He says even if the current president is impeached, the turmoil here will continue.

DE ARAGAO: The impeachment happening or not will not solve the division that we have in the country today.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The battle for power, he says, is far from over. Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Rio de Janeiro. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.