Brazil's impeachment saga: six key moments

Protesters demonstrate against Brazil's current government in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, on March 30, 2016 (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba) (AFP/File)

Brasília (AFP) - The impeachment battle against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been waged in the streets, in Congress and in the courts.

These key dates track an often complex process that moves forward Monday with a vote in the lower house commission, then a decisive vote in the full lower house a week later.

December 2, 2015

Controversial lower house Speaker Eduardo Cunha formally opens the impeachment saga by accepting a petition from a group of lawyers.

They accuse Rousseff of having illegally juggled government accounts and taking loans in order to mask the depth of government shortfalls during her 2014 re-election.

Meanwhile, many politicians, including Cunha, are snared in criminal corruption probes linked to a vast embezzlement scheme at state oil company Petrobras.

March 16, 2016

The Supreme Court resolves technical issues that had been holding up impeachment proceedings and the battle gets under way.

March 17

The lower house of parliament forms a cross-party commission of 65 members to recommend whether impeachment should go ahead.

April 4

Against a backdrop of regular pro- and anti-Rousseff street protests, Brazil's solicitor general, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, makes final arguments before the commission in the president's defense.

He tells deputies that the charges do not amount to impeachable offenses and that the process is fueled by Cunha's "desire for revenge."

April 11

The commission was to vote on Monday, with only a simple majority needed either way. The commission's rapporteur Jovair Arantes already recommended last week in favor and expectations were that the "yes" side would prevail.

April 17 or 18

The commission vote is non-binding but sets the tone for when the lower house of Congress meets a week later -- expected for either April 17 or 18 -- to issue a decisive ruling.

A two-thirds majority will be required there for an impeachment trial to open in the upper house. Anything less and the matter will be dropped.

If a trial starts in the Senate, then another two-thirds vote will be required for Rousseff to be removed from office. In the meantime, she would have to step aside and Vice President Michel Temer would take over.