Home Foreign Brazil’s Senate suspends President Rousseff, opens impeachment trial

Brazil’s Senate suspends President Rousseff, opens impeachment trial


Rio de Janeiro – The Brazilian Senate has on Thursday voted overwhelmingly, with 55-22 votes in favour of suspending, President Dilma Rousseff from office for 180 days and subjecting her to an impeachment trial on charges of budget irregularities.

A report from Rio de Janeiro described the 55-22 vote as a crushing defeat for Rousseff, who has characterised the impeachment proceedings as a parliamentary coup, that has deepened the political crisis in Latin America’s biggest economy.

It said the Senate would now investigate the allegations against her in the coming months and then hold another vote, in which a two-thirds majority would be required to permanently remove her from office.

The report said the Vice President, Michel Temer, of the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), must immediately take over as president in accordance with the constitution.

“Temer has been Rousseff’s deputy since she took office in 2011, becoming the first woman to hold the position of president.

“But their relationship has deteriorated, with Rousseff now referring to him as a “traitor,” and the PMDB withdrawing from the coalition government last month,’’it said.

The report noted that Temer, who is perceived as more market-friendly, has called for investor calm.

It said the vice president promised to trim the number of cabinet positions and make appointments from across the political spectrum.

It, however, said Rousseff who is accused of tampering with figures to disguise the size of Brazil’s budget deficit during her 2014 re-election campaign, has denied any wrongdoing.

It said further that ahead of the Senate vote, Rousseff had cleared her personal effects from the presidential office.

Bitter political rival Eduardo Cunha, who was the president of Brazil’s lower house, launched the process to impeach Rousseff in December.

The chamber voted in favour of her impeachment in April, sending the issue to the Senate upper chamber.

Cunha was suspended last week on allegations that he was obstructing a corruption investigation against himself.

In a last-ditch effort to save her presidency, Rousseff appealed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to block the Senate vote, arguing that Cunha had abused his position of power to seek “revenge.”

The court rejected her appeal.

Her suspension ends 13 years of rule by the leftist Workers’ Party (PT), which has become increasingly unpopular for its handling of the battered economy and its connection to a massive corruption scandal involving the state-run oil company, Petrobras. (dpa/NAN)

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