Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has said that she is “outraged” by a vote in Congress to authorise impeachment proceedings against her.
In an emotional first public response on Monday, Rousseff said she would “continue to fight” for her political survival and that there was no legal basis for any impeachment.
Rousseff is accused of making illegal accounting moves to mask government shortfalls during her 2014 re-election, but she has not been accused of corruption.
Many Brazilians also hold her responsible for the failing economy and a corruption scandal centred on state oil company Petrobras – a perception that has left her government with 10 percent approval ratings.
Brazilian legislators voted in favour of impeaching Rousseff on Sunday after a contest that has deeply divided the country and could end more than a decade of left-wing rule.
The motion will now go to the Senate which will vote, probably in May, on whether to open a trial.
If the Senate votes by a simple majority to go ahead with the impeachment, Rousseff, 68, would be suspended from her post and be replaced by Vice President Michel Temer as acting president, pending a trial.
Temer would serve out Rousseff’s term until 2018 if she were found guilty.
The impeachment battle, which comes during Brazil’s worst recession since the 1930s, has divided the country of 200 million people more deeply than at any time since the end of its military dictatorship in 1985.
The 513 legislators voted one by one, all of them given 30 seconds to speak before casting their ballots. The floor of the lower house was a sea of Brazilian flags and pumping fists as dozens of MPs carried the deputy who cast the decisive 342nd vote – needed for impeachment to succeed – in their arms.