The majority of senators in the Brazilian Senate have indicated they would vote to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. The Upper House of Parliament has been debating for more than 16 hours if the president should face an impeachment trial.
Out of the 58 senators who spoke so far, 41 have said they would vote for the impeachment, 16 said they would vote against it and 1 (former president Fernando Collar who was impeached himself) did not reveal how he intended to vote. A total of 71 senators have registered to speak before voting, the Guardian reported.
The Upper House has 81 senators and a simple majority of 41 is needed for the president to be suspended. However, only 78 senators will finally vote according to Brazilian media reports.
Assuming that the 41 senators who said they will vote for the impeachment trial will vote as such, a majority has been reached to impeach the president.
The president has been charged with illegal manipulation of the government's budget during her re election in 2014. She has made a last ditch appeal to the Supreme Court for intervention which was rejected.
The President of the Senate Renan Calheiros, said he would not vote in this process and chose to stay neutral. "Temer needs the backing of Congress to carry out deep reforms, above all reform of the political system, if he becomes president," he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
The vote itself will not begin until the early hours of Thursday morning (6am local time), AP reported.
Supporters of Rousseff clashed with police earlier in the night when they threw fire crackers during a rally outside the Senate and the police fired teargas at the protesters. A group of 6,000 people backing the impeachment were also seen carrying posters that said "Out with Dilma," Reuters reported.
Public opinion is largely against the president but there is also scepticism of the leader next in line. Michel Temer has been named in the Petrobras scandal as has Renan Calheiros. Rousseff, however, has steadfastly denied any allegations of wrong doing and pointed out that such practices have been carried out by governments in the past.
Bruno Lavieri, a Sao Paulo-based economist spoke to Reuters and said "Temer may enjoy a honeymoon with markets for some weeks, maybe months, but when investors come to realize that the fiscal results will not improve fast enough, then we could see some disappointment later this year."