Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff moved closer to impeachment when the rapporteur of a Congressional committee said on Wednesday there were grounds for the Senate putting her on trial for manipulating budget accounts in 2014 to boost her reelection prospects.
Congressman Jovair Arantes told the 65-member lower house committee there were “minimal indications” that Rousseff had committed an impeachable crime, but that it was up to the Senate to judge the president.
The committee will vote on Arantes’ report on Monday and submit the result to the full house for a final vote, expected by the end of next week. If two-thirds of the chamber approve the motion, Rousseff will be sent for trial in the Senate.
In a boost for Rousseff’s chances of surviving impeachment, the centrist Progressive Party (PP) said on Wednesday it will remain in her governing coalition until the lower house votes on whether to impeach the embattled leftist leader or not.
Rousseff, whose hold on power is threatened by a massive corruption scandal and Brazil’s worst economic recession in decades, has been negotiating government jobs to retain the backing of allies such as the PP after her main coalition partner, the PMDB, broke away last week to back her impeachment.
“It is clear a majority (of the PP) does not want to break with Rousseff,” party leader Senator Ciro Nogueira told reporters. “They will tend to vote for the president over impeachment.”
Uncertainty over Rousseff’s impeachment fueled volatility on Brazilian markets, with the Sao Paulo stock market Bovespa retreating 1.59 percent on Wednesday.
Bets that Rousseff will be replaced by a more business-friendly administration have rekindled appetite for Brazilian assets, with the real jumping more than 10 percent last month and the Bovespa among the world’s best performing stock indexes this year.