May 27, 2016 12:55 AM
Final vote on impeachment could come 3 days before Olympics
The Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) The Rio de Janeiro Olympics have been upstaged by the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. And it could get worse.
Brazil Sen. Antonio Anastasia has said the final vote on removing Rousseff should come on Aug. 2 just three days before the Olympics officially open in Rio de Janeiro.
Rousseff was suspended from office for 180 days by a Senate vote earlier this month, with Michel Temer taking over as acting president. The impeachment trial must take place within six months, and Temer wants it sooner rather than later.
Rio's Olympics have been plagued with numerous problems: the Zika virus, deep budgets cuts, severe water pollution, slow ticket sales and rising fears around security.
Such a critical vote just days before the games would create protocol nightmares with more than 100 heads of state or heads of government expected for the Aug. 5 opening ceremony.
It would also be another embarrassment to the host nation, which is mired in its deepest recession since the 1930s without relief in sight.
"Brazil can't wait," said Sen. Simone Tebet, a member of Temer's governing party. "The judicial indecision and instability could impede new investment, new jobs, and a faster economic recovery."
At the opening ceremony at Rio's Maracana stadium, Brazil's president is to declare the games are open. The president will not give a speech. That will fall to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, and Carlos Nuzman, head of the local organizing committee.
Senators are expected to vote on Anastasia's calendar, which foresees a final vote on Aug. 2.
Though Temer might wish for a quick trial, it may not happen. Brazil Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski will also have a say in the scheduling.
Rousseff will also influence the length of the trial, and she may not want it to end quickly.
Many legal analysts expect the trial to end in September, but even that could interfere with municipal mayoral elections in October.
It could also butt into the Paralympic Games, which run Sept. 7-18.
If Anastasia's calendar is approved, witnesses will be called on June 6-17, and Rousseff would be questioned on June 20. Written statements for and against Rousseff would be submitted between June 21-July 21.
The Senate impeachment committee would make its recommendations to the whole Senate on July 27-28.
The Senate will then vote with two-thirds 54 votes needed to remove Rousseff permanently from office. She would be barred for running for any office for eight years.
Associated Press reporter Mauricio Savarese contributed to this report.
Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/stephen-wade