The political crisis deepened in Brazil on Monday as the Senate said it would proceed with impeachment procedures against President Dilma Rousseff for flouting fiscal rules even as the acting lower house speaker attempted to annul the bid the house had approved, citing procedural flaws. Waldir Maranhao, the lower house's acting speaker, had reportedly called for fresh voting in the impeachment process.
Rousseff, who was in the middle of an event at the presidential palace as the news of the attempted annulment broke, cautioned the cheering crowds saying these are "circumstances of cunning and trickery." She has consistently denied being involved in corruption.
"This should have no legal value whatsoever," Ives Gandra Martins, a constitutional lawyer based in Sao Paulo, told Reuters. "The impeachment process is no longer even in the lower house and there are no grounds ... to annul it.
The Supreme Court on Monday also refused to reverse the annulment sought by Maranhao, despite Senate Speaker Renan Calheiros saying the upper house would proceed with the impeachment process. If approved, Rousseff would be on trial and suspended for six months, at the end of which she could be permanently removed if found guilty.
Calheiros called the decision illegal, BBC reported.
The Senate will on Wednesday vote on whether the impeachment trial should be conducted against Rousseff.
"I'm aware that this is a delicate moment. We have the duty to save democracy through debate. We are not and will not be playing with democracy," Maranhao was quoted as saying by Reuters.
"The Senate now has the process and will continue to move ahead with it unless they find some reason to vote it down of their own," Martins said.
Last week the attorney general sought permission from the apex court in the country to begin probing Rousseff for blocking enquiry in the massive Petrobras scandal, which reportedly involves multiple politicians from the Worker's Party and the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party.