BRASILIA – The Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) filed a new request on Monday for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff for obstructing justice and granting international soccer body FIFA tax-exempt status during the 2014 World Cup.
Rousseff supporters tried to physically block the entry of the impeachment request in the lower house of Congress, shouting the left-wing slogan “Não passaram!” (They shall not pass) and pushing and shoving opponents of the embattled president.
Rousseff already faces an impeachment process over the alleged manipulation of government accounts that opposition parties maintain helped her win narrow re-election in 2014 by allowing her to boost public spending.
The most serious impeachable offense in the new request is the alleged interference by the president in investigations into the massive Petrobras corruption scandal. It is based on plea bargain testimony by Senator Delcidio Amaral, a key legislative ally for Rousseff before he was arrested in November.
The OAB, which represents 1 million lawyers, added a complaint that is shared by many Brazilians, that the Rousseff government hurt Brazil’s interests by granting FIFA a generous blanket tax exemption when it held the World Cup in Brazil.
The World Cup generated revenues of $4.8 billion for FIFA, against expenses of $2.2 billion, according to the soccer body’s website.
The new impeachment petition will join a dozen others waiting for consideration by the speaker of the house Eduardo Cunha, a fierce critic of Rousseff who himself is facing corruption charges related to the Petrobras case for allegedly receiving millions in bribes.
Cunha can accept a second bid to impeach the president if the current case is defeated.
Rousseff is struggling to save her presidency in the midst of the worst economic recession in a generation and the widening graft investigation that started at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.
The lower house of Congress is expected to vote in mid-April on the first impeachment request. If Rousseff fails to block it with the votes of one third of the 513-member chamber, she could be suspended while the Senate holds an impeachment trial to decide whether to remove her from office.
The odds that the country’s first woman president will be impeached could rise sharply on Tuesday when her largest coalition partner, the PMDB party, is expected to break with her government.