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In Brazil Court opens session that could topple president

Brazil's election court opened hearings Tuesday that could topple scandal-tainted President Michel Temer, plunging Latin America's biggest country into untested political waters.

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A seven-judge panel could vote to declare Brazil's election result invalid, meaning that President Michel Temer -- who took over last year when Dilma Rousseff was impeached -- would himself face losing his office play

A seven-judge panel could vote to declare Brazil's election result invalid, meaning that President Michel Temer -- who took over last year when Dilma Rousseff was impeached -- would himself face losing his office

(AFP/File)

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Brazil's election court opened hearings Tuesday that could topple scandal-tainted President Michel Temer, plunging Latin America's biggest country into untested political waters.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) opened the first of four scheduled sessions to decide whether the 2014 re-election of president Dilma Rousseff and her then-vice president Temer should be invalidated because of corrupt campaign funding.

The seven-judge panel could vote to declare the election result invalid, meaning that Temer -- who took over last year when Rousseff was impeached -- would himself face losing his office.

The conservative president, who faces a separate, potentially devastating corruption probe, says the court will absolve him.

If found guilty at the court's last scheduled hearing on Thursday, Temer would be able to appeal. A judge on the TSE could also decide to adjourn the court hearings, with the whole process potentially still dragging on for some time.

There was a heavy police presence at the election court in the capital Brasilia, with only a small protest by leftwing demonstrators outside.

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