Brasilia: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was suspended yesterday to face impeachment, ceding power to her vice-president-turned-enemy Michel Temer in a political earthquake ending 13 years of leftist rule over Latin America’s biggest nation.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Pic/AFP
A nearly 22-hour debate in the Senate closed with an overwhelming 55-22 vote against Brazil’s first female president. Pro-impeachment senators broke into applause.
Only a simple majority of the 81-member Senate had been required to suspend Rousseff for six months pending judgement on charges that she broke budget accounting laws. A trial could now take months, with a two-thirds majority vote eventually needed to force Rousseff (68) from office altogether. Rousseff has denounced the impeachment drive as a coup and vowed to fight on during her trial.
Change of power
Within hours, Temer, from the center-right PMDB party, was to take over as interim president, drawing the curtain on more than a decade of dominance by Rousseff’s leftist Workers’ Party. He was preparing to announce a new government shortly and said his priority is to address Brazil’s worst recession in decades.
Due to host the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in less than three months, Brazil is struggling to stem economic disarray and handle the fallout from a corruption scandal reaching deep into the political and business elite. Senate President Renan Calheiros, who oversaw the proceedings, said impeachment would be “traumatic”.