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article imageTimeline of political turmoil in Brazil

By AFP     May 4, 2016 in Politics

Below are key dates in two months of Brazilian political turmoil where interconnected crises threaten to bring down President Dilma Rousseff.

Rousseff is fighting impeachment on allegations that she illegally borrowed money to boost public spending during her 2014 re-election campaign.

Brazil's top prosecutor has now also asked the Supreme Court to open a probe into alleged obstruction of justice by Rousseff, according to reports.

Rousseff has been battered by a huge corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras, even though she has not been charged in the case.

Her main ally and predecessor, former president Inacio Lula da Silva, faces charges related to that probe, which he says are politically motivated.

- Lulu accused -

- March 4: Lula is briefly detained during a police raid linked to the Petrobras probe, prompting furious protests by supporters. Lula -- founder of the leftist Workers' Party and still highly influential despite having been out of power since 2010 -- echoes Rousseff's claim that the opposition is mounting a coup.

Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo on April 25  2016
Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo on April 25, 2016
Nelson Almeida, AFP/File

- March 13: Three million people demonstrate across the country against Rousseff.

- March 16: Rousseff names Lula as her new chief of staff, a position almost analagous to that of prime minister. She says she needs the political heavyweight to help rescue her government, but the opposition accuses her of trying to shield him from the judge probing the Petrobas scandal, since ministers can be tried only by the Supreme Court.

Investigating Judge Sergio Moro publishes wiretapped conversations that appear to show Rousseff plotting with Lula to shield him, although the wording is ambiguous. Fresh protests erupt.

- Impeachment or 'coup'? -

- March 17: Rousseff swears Lula in as chief of staff before courts order his appointment suspended. The government appeals, and Rousseff again accuses opponents of mounting a "coup."

Lawmakers relaunch impeachment proceedings against the president after procedural obstacles are resolved.

- March 22: Rousseff insists she has committed no crime and vows to "never resign" from office.

- March 29: Rousseff's main coalition partner, the centrist PMDB, quits the government coalition. Its leader, Michel Temer, 75, is vice-president and would take over as a caretaker president if Rousseff is forced out of office.

- April 12-13: Two more parties, the PP and PRB, quit Rousseff's coalition and say they will vote for her ouster. A day later, the PSD and PTB parties follow suit.

- April 17: Brazilian lawmakers reach the two thirds majority needed to authorize impeachment proceedings against Rousseff. The Senate must now vote on whether a trial should take place.

- May 3: Brazil's chief prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot asks the Supreme Court to open an investigation into alleged obstruction of justice by Rousseff and Lula, media reports say.

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