By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Senators return to work on Monday, June 27th, to listen to the last defense witnesses in the impeachment trial of suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Analysts believe that the next two weeks may be decisive for the suspended leader, with the defense resting its case and Rousseff herself testifying before the Senate sometime next week.
According to an impeachment schedule, approved by senators last week, former cabinet members and budget officials are expected to speak on Rousseff’s behalf this week. Next week it will be the suspended president’s turn to defend her actions.
Rousseff, Brazil’s first woman president has been accused of mismanagement of public revenues, borrowing money from state-owned banks to pay for social programs but not including these ‘loans’ in the federal accounting results.
The suspended president is expected to reiterate her position that other, former presidents executed similar fiscal practices, although witnesses for the prosecution have said that the volume of loans taken from state-owned bank by the Rousseff Administration was much higher than anything previously seen.
The schedule for the prosecution will have a last chance to rebut defense testimony and produce more evidence to strengthen its case. The final vote by Senators on whether or not Rousseff will be permanently removed from office is expected to occur at the end of August, between the 22nd and the 26th.
The decision, therefore, would occur immediately following the closing ceremony of Rio 2016 Olympic Games, scheduled for August 21st, but before the Paralympic Games, September 7th to 18th.
If 54 or more of the 81 senators approve the impeachment, Rousseff will be forced to step down and will be ineligible to hold any public office for the next eight years.