Brazil Electoral Court Begins Voting on Temer Election in Campaign-Financing Trial -- Update

By Jeffrey T. Lewis Features Dow Jones Newswires

SÃO PAULO -- Brazilian judges are voting Friday on whether or not to remove President Michel Temer from office over alleged illegal campaign financing during the 2014 presidential election.

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Five of the seven judges on Brazil's Superior Electoral Tribunal, or TSE, have voted, with three voting to leave Mr. Temer in office and two voting to annul the result of the election. The final two votes are expected to come in the next few hours.

Mr. Temer was re-elected Brazil's vice president in 2014, and became president last year when his running mate Dilma Rousseff was removed from office following an impeachment process unrelated to the case before the electoral court.

The court has been examining evidence that arose from the Operation Car Wash anticorruption investigation indicating that the Rousseff-Temer ticket allegedly accepted campaign contributions from construction company Odebrecht SA in return for helping the builder win contracts with state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras.

Both politicians have denied wrongdoing.

The TSE is Brazil's highest electoral court, and has the power to annul elections held in the country. Its decisions can still be appealed to Brazil's highest court, the Federal Supreme Court.

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If the electoral court votes to remove Mr. Temer from office, he has said he would appeal the decision and is expected to remain in office while he waits for the Supreme Court's ruling. If ousted, Mr. Temer would be replaced by the speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Rodrigo Maia.

The electoral court's case against Mr. Temer, though based on information stemming from Car Wash, is separate from that probe and stems from a complaint filed with the court in 2014 by the party that lost the election, the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, or PSDB.

Write to Jeffrey T. Lewis at jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 09, 2017 19:16 ET (23:16 GMT)