Brazil's impeachment saga: Six key moments

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attends the inauguration ceremony of the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, on April 8, 2016 (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba)
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attends the inauguration ceremony of the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, on April 8, 2016 (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Brasília (AFP) - The impeachment battle against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been waged in the streets, in Congress and in the courts.

These key dates track an often complex process that moved forward Monday with a vote in the lower house committee, to be followed by a decisive vote in the full lower house in about a week.

December 2, 2015

Controversial lower house Speaker Eduardo Cunha formally opens the impeachment saga by accepting a petition from a group of lawyers.

They accuse Rousseff of having illegally juggled government accounts and taking loans in order to mask the depth of government shortfalls during her 2014 re-election.

Meanwhile, many politicians, including Cunha, are snared in criminal corruption probes linked to a vast embezzlement scheme at state oil company Petrobras.

March 16, 2016

The Supreme Court resolves technical issues that had been holding up impeachment proceedings and the battle gets under way.

March 17

The lower house of parliament forms a cross-party committee of 65 members to recommend whether impeachment should go ahead.

April 4

Against a backdrop of regular pro- and anti-Rousseff street protests, Brazil's solicitor general, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, makes final arguments before the committee in the president's defense.

He tells deputies that the charges do not amount to impeachable offenses and that the process is fueled by Cunha's "desire for revenge."

April 11

After a day of bad-tempered debates, often reduced to shouting, the committee votes to recommend impeachment. Although non-binding, the vote sets the stage for the vote that really matters in a week's time in the full lower house of Congress.

April 17 or 18

The house vote is expected for either April 17 or 18.

A two-thirds majority will be required there to send the case to the Senate. Anything less and the matter will be dropped.

If passed, then the Senate will hold an initial vote where a simple majority would launch the impeachment trial. Another two-thirds vote would be required for Rousseff to be removed from office.

In the meantime, she would have to step aside for up to 180 days while the trial was underway and Vice President Michel Temer would take over.