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Brazil: Annulment Reversed, Rousseff Impeachment Process to Move Forward

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Waldir Maranhao, the interim speaker of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress, speaks to the press in Brasilia on May 9, 2016. ANDRESSA ANHOLETE / AFP - Getty Images

Brazil's acting speaker of the house of Congress reversed his decision to annul Brazil President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment process, the interim speaker's spokesman said Tuesday.

Waldir Maranhao's annulment of the April 17 vote in the Chamber of Deputies plunged the impeachment process into uncertainty and sowed further discord among Brazil's fractious political class.

Maranhao's first move early Monday would have annulled the 367-137 vote to oust Rousseff, which sent the matter to the Senate for a possible trial of the president. The head of the Senate vowed to ignore Maranhao's decision and plow ahead with the process.

Members of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) take part in a protest against the impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia
Members of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) take part in a protest against the impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, Brazil, May 10, 2016. UESLEI MARCELINO / Reuters

Marahnao's spokesman Marcos Alberto said the acting speaker reversed the decision just over 12 hours after his initial decision.

Such reversals are a staple of Brazilian politics, and the impeachment drama has been filled with such dramatic turns.

The decision clears the way for Wednesday's vote in the Senate on whether to accept the impeachment case against Rousseff and put her on trial for allegedly breaking fiscal rules in her management of the national budget. If a simple majority of senators decides in favor, Rousseff will be suspended and Vice President Michel Temer will take over until a trial is conducted.

Demonstration against Brazilian President Rousseff in Sao Paulo
Demonstrators protest against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 09 May 2016. SEBASTIAO MOREIRA / EPA

RELATED: Brazil: House Speaker Annuls Presidential Impeachment Vote

Rousseff is battling impeachment over allegations that her government violated fiscal rules, in what critics say was a bid to artificially bolster the country's flagging economy. Rousseff has said that prior presidents used such fiscal maneuvers and that the impeachment effort amounts to a "coup" aimed at removing her and her left-leaning Workers' Party, which has governed the country for 13 years.

Rousseff reacted cautiously to Maranhao's initial announcement, suggesting it wasn't entirely clear what was happening.

"We have a difficult fight ahead of us," she said at an event about education. She also called for caution, saying that "we live in a time of cunning and wile."

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