Brazil leader's impeachment trial enters final stretch

Updated: 2016-08-31 09:49


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Brazil leader's impeachment trial enters final stretch

Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff attends the final session of debate and voting on Rousseff's impeachment trial in Brasilia, Brazil, August 29, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

BRASILIA - The impeachment trial of Brazilian suspended president Dilma Rousseff entered the final stretch on Tuesday morning, with the defense and prosecution set to present their closing arguments.

The head of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Ricardo Lewandowski, opened the session at 10:26 am local time, saying each side would have at least 90 minutes to make their case.

Senators then have 10 minutes each to address the session, should they want to. Some 60 of the 81 senators were registered to do so as the day's proceedings got underway.

The legislators will vote on whether or not to impeach Rousseff on Wednesday, said Lewandowski, to avoid extending Tuesday's session through the night.

On Monday, Rousseff spoke in her defense and was then cross-examined for some 14 hours by Senators who believe she is "criminally responsible" for masking a large public deficit to improve her chances of being reelected to a second term.

Senators opposed to impeachment used their allotted time to praise Rousseff's performance as president and denounce the impeachment process as an attempt to seize power.

Rousseff denies the charges and has described the trial as a legislative coup by the conservative political opposition to oust her leftist Workers' Party from power.

Her running mate and vice-president, Michel Temer, joined the cause of the opposition senators during their campaign to get an impeachment trial underway, and was made interim president.

If Rousseff is impeached, he would be instated to serve the remainder of her term through 2018.