A Brazilian congressional committee voted to go ahead with President Dilma Rousseff impeachment proceedings.
The 65-member committee voted 38 to 27 to recommend impeachment over claims Dilma Rousseff manipulated government accounts to hide a growing deficit.
All eyes will now be on a full vote in the lower house on April 17 or 18.
The issue has divided Brazil, with police preparing for mass protests in the capital, Brasilia.
The vote took place amid chaotic scenes with supporters and opponents of President Dilma Rousseff shouting slogans and waving placards.
The committee’s vote is largely symbolic, but has been watched as a measure of how much support there is for the impeachment process ahead of the crucial vote in the full lower house of Congress, correspondents say.
There, a two-thirds majority is needed to send the matter on to the Senate. The latest opinion poll by the Estadao daily suggests 292 of the 513 members are in favor, with 115 against and 106 undecided.
The Senate would then have the power to suspend Dilma Rousseff, put her on trial and ultimately drive her from office.
During a bad-tempered debate leading up to the vote, Attorney General Jose Eduardo Cordozo, speaking for the president, said the impeachment process was “flawed”.
“It is absurd to dismiss a president who has not committed crimes, nor stolen a penny. And such a process without crime or fraud, would be a coup,” he said.
Opposition lawmaker Vanderlei Macris said Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment would be important to Brazilian society and would bring change.