Brazil’s Senate is set to vote on whether to send the incumbent suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, to a final trial that would decide her fate as head of state.
The opponents of Rousseff only need amajority of the 81 senators’ votes on Tuesday to open an impeachment trial, which would determine whether to remove the suspended leader permanently.
Analysts say the Senate faces a difficult debate that could stretch the session into the early hours of Wednesday.
An opposition party senator claimed that he has no “doubt that the vote will be in favor of impeachment, as it will be at the final trial.”
Tuesday’s vote would be the final before the one, which would need a two-thirds majority to strip Rousseff of her power around the end of August.
If the August trial acquits Rousseff, she will be allowed to serve out her term until 2018. But if it removes her permanently, then acting President Michel Temer will become the full-fledged president until the next presidential election in 2018.
Temer replaced Rousseff after the upper chamber of Brazil’s National Congress voted to suspend her and began an impeachment trial against her in May.
Rousseff, 68, is accused of illegally manipulating finances to hide a growing public deficit ahead of her re-election in 2014, an allegation she has denied.
A team of independent auditors released a 224-page report in June, concluding that there was no evidence of Rousseff having participated in the budget manipulation.
On Monday, Rousseff addressed an event attended by hundreds of her supporters in the southern city of Curitiba, for the first time since the beginning of her impeachment on May 12.
She told the gathering that “the country is being taken by a coup,” and that “we have an obligation to try to stop it because if they have the chance, the damages will be very big.”
She is also under fire over a graft scandal at state oil company Petrobras, where she was the manager before taking office as president in 2010.
Rousseff has denied the allegations and repeatedly asserted that she has fallen victim to a plot by the extreme right. She has also accused the opposition of mounting a coup attempt through the impeachment bid.