Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court (STF) suspended the special Committee that was formed on Monday to recommend to Congress whether to proceed with the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.
The Supreme Court approved an appeal from the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), which is allied to the leftist Workers’ Party of Rousseff, over alleged irregularities in the composition of the committee, apparently made up by legislators representing all parties.
The cautionary measure by the court suspends all work of the commission to establish whether Rousseff incurred in illegal maneuvers to justify her removal from office, until at least December 16. The Supreme Court will convene on the same day to to analyze the validity of the procedures carried out so far.
Judge Edson Fachin also called on the speaker of the Lower House, Eduardo Cunha – Dilma’s political rival who authorized the impeachment procedures – to provide detailed information on the disputed formation of the committee.
Ahead of the court ruling, Dilma yesterday lost a first battle in the impeachment bid, with the opposition triumphing in the composition of the committee. A list compiled by opposition and dissidents of parties of the majority – such as the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) headed by Vice-president Michel Temer – obtained 272 nominations, in respect to 199 of those promoted by government allies, resulting in a majority hostile to Rousseff of 39 on a total of 65 legislators.
Cunha’s decision to resort to a secret vote to elect the committee members sparked controversy and reactions in parliament and the complaint by the PcdoB.
The President’s popularity has hit a low over alleged illegal accounting maneuvers in the handling of the 2014 federal budget and authorizing public spending in 2015 by decree, without approval from the congress. The motion for Dilma’s impeachment was filed last week by the congress speaker Eduardo Cunha, one of 50 politicians investigated in connection to the giant corruption scandal centered on the state oil company Petrobras. Cunha and Rousseff are political rivals and the political climate in the South American giant increasingly reflects a polarization, while the Brazilians suffer a period of significant economic recession.