Impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, committee says

Story highlights

  • Commission recommends impeachment proceedings against Brazilian president
  • Spokesman called Rousseff's actions as "grave violations"
  • Rousseff is under storm of criticism for her conduct in

(CNN)Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff finds herself one step closer to impeachment proceedings.

Her presidency is rocked by a massive corruption scandal, accusations of cronyism and a deepening recession. Many in Brazil are angered by Rousseff's performance and want her booted from office.
    A special impeachment commission concurred Wednesday, recommending that the lower house of Brazil's congress go ahead with impeachment proceedings against Rousseff.
    Jovair Arantes, the spokesman for the special impeachment commission, described her actions as "grave violations" that "constitute a serious deviation from her official duties in detriment to the interests of the nation and an abuse of the trust placed in her. Such acts justify the initiation of the impeachment process."
    The political saga continues next Monday when the lower house will vote whether to impeach the president.

    Why are Brazillians frustrated with Rousseff?

    Rousseff, who has been in office since 2011, has proved deeply unpopular in her second term in office. There are many overlapping crises that point to why her approval ratings are hovering around 10%.
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    • A corruption investigation into a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme at the state-run oil company Petrobras has embroiled dozens of the country's leading businessmen and politicians. Rousseff was the chairwoman of Petrobras during many of the years that the alleged corruption took place.
    • There are allegations that Rousseff tried to hide a budget shortfall ahead of elections in 2014.
    • She appointed Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, her mentor and former president, as her chief of staff days after he was questioned by federal police in a corruption investigation. A judge blocked him from being sworn in; separate legal proceedings will decide the fate of the appointment. His appointment raised suspicion that Rousseff was attempting to shield him from prosecution, as senior political figures can only be tried in the Supreme Federal Court. Having Silva as part of her senior staff would effectively delay any prosecution against the ex-Brazilian president.
    She has denied any wrongdoing in all three controversies.

    What is Brazil facing?

    • Brazil is grappling with its longest economic downturn since the 1930s and there are concerns that it could spiral into a depression. The news isn't getting better. The economy is tipped to shrink a further 3.5% this year, according to a pessimistic report from the Central Bank of Brazil.
    • The country is also ground zero for the Zika virus, which has resulted in 900 confirmed cases of microcephaly -- a neurological disorder in which babies are born with small heads to women infected with Zika while pregnant. There are no answers to this yet.
    • Also, there's a lack of interest in the Olympic Games hosted in Brazil. Just four months before the Olympic Games, only half the tickets have been sold. The lack of sales raises questions about whether tourists will come to the games to make Brazil's investment to host worthwhile. There are also questions whether the Olympic facilities will be built in time considering budget shortfalls.

    Here's what could happen in an impeachment process

    • The next step is for Brazil's lower house, called the Chamber of Deputies, to vote Monday on whether to continue with impeachment proceedings against Rousseff. A two-thirds majority is needed to move the matter to Brazil's upper house, the Senate.
    • Rousseff would be tried in the Senate. During the trial, Rousseff would be required to step down from office for 180 days. The vice president, Michel Temer -- who could also face his own impeachment -- would take over the presidency.
    • If there is no decision within 180 days, Rousseff would retake the presidency.
    • A two-thirds majority is needed in the Senate to impeach the president. If that threshold is met, the president is required to step down and would be ineligible to hold public office for eight years.
    Rousseff has said the impeachment efforts are baseless. "Impeachment without proof of a crime is what? It is a coup," Rousseff said in late March. Many analysts believe Rousseff is unlikely to finish her second term -- either through impeachment or the calling of new elections.