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Brazil's President Is One Step Closer To Being Impeached


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


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.


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.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Others yelling, out Dilma.


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.


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


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.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.