The Latest: Brazil Congress begins vote on suspending Temer

BRASILIA, Brazil

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The latest on Brazil’s congressional vote on whether to suspend and try President Michel Temer (all times local):

7 p.m.

The lower chamber of Brazil’s Congress has begun voting on whether to suspend President Michel Temer for a bribery charge.

After a full day of hearings and last-minute wrangling by both sides to whip up votes, members began the vote late Wednesday on whether to force Temer from office for up to six months.

He would be put on trial if two-thirds of the 513 members in the chamber, or 342, voted in favor.

Going in, Temer and his allies expressed confidence he would be victorious because he only needs more than 171 members to vote in his favor.

In June, Temer was accused by Brazil’s attorney general of orchestrating a plan to receive millions of dollars in illicit payments. A former Temer aide was arrested with a suitcase with $150,000 in cash, much of which allegedly destined for Temer.

Temer denied the allegation and said there was no proof he received any money.

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2:15 p.m.

Demonstrators have briefly blocked highways and avenues with burning tires in at least nine Brazilian states to demand that President Michel Temer be suspended for bribery.

Most of the demonstrations attracted less than 200 people and lasted less than two hours. No arrests were reported.

Demonstrators carried banners reading “Temer Get Out.”

The demonstrations are taking place as the lower house of Congress begins hearings on whether to suspend Temer and put him on trial over an alleged bribery scheme.

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12:35 p.m.

Brazilian lawmakers are making impassioned speeches about whether to suspend the president for bribery, but few of their colleagues seem to be paying attention.

Each member of lower Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday is given a few minutes to make a case. They’re largely arguing for a national television audience because most of their peers are standing in groups and chatting among themselves or occupied with their smartphones.

President Michel Temer has been charged with bribery by the attorney general. If two thirds of the 513 members of the chamber agree, Temer will be suspended while the country’s top court puts him on trial.

Members’ speeches include shouting, calls to “Oust Temer!” or “Save the government!”

A vote is expected later in the day.

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9:40 a.m.

A congressional hearing on whether to suspend Brazilian President Michel Temer for a bribery charge is getting started with a small protest inside the lower chamber of Congress.

Minutes after the session got started Wednesday, about 30 opposition lawmakers walked into the Chamber of Deputies carrying a large sign demanding Temer’s ouster.

They shouted things like, “Temer should be in prison” and “out with Temer.”

Temer would be suspended and put on trial before the country’s top court if two thirds of the 513 members vote against him.

Temer is deeply unpopular among Brazilians. The latest poll last week put his approval rating at 5 percent. Despite that, the government believes it has enough votes for Temer to survive.

Brazil’s attorney general charged Temer in June for allegedly orchestrating a scheme to line his pockets with millions in bribes. Temer denies that.

Categories: International News