A special Brazilian Senate committee began consideration Tuesday of a motion to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial. The 21-member panel elected a chairman and then selected another of its members to prepare a report on the question of whether to drop allegations against Rousseff or conduct a full-scale Senate trial. Rousseff is accused of abusing her powers over the federal budget and government-run financial institutions. The committee chose Senator Raimundo Lira, of the PMDB (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro), as chairman and Social Democrat (PSDB) Antônio Anastasia to prepare the report. Lira has maintained a studied neutrality over the question of holding a trial. Anastasia, on the other hand, has publicly called for Rousseff’s removal from office. Anastasia is expected to complete his report early next week. Lira said he will call for a committee vote on the report on May 6. A vote by the full Senate is likely for some time during the week of May 9. If the Senate votes to hold a trial, Rousseff will be obliged to take a leave-of-absence of up to 180 days. In that event, Vice President Michel Temer would assume temporary powers as Acting President.
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