Dilma Rousseff is no longer Brazil's president

The Brazilian senate’s vote to impeach the country’s first female president for breaking budgetary laws comes amid a wider political crisis over corruption, and a deep economic recession.
August 31, 2016, 6:20pm
Photo by Cadu Gomes/EPA

Brazil's senate has voted to permanently remove Dilma Rousseff from the country's presidency for breaking budgetary laws.

The 61-20 vote against Rousseff early on Wednesday afternoon came three months after her former vice president Michel Temer took over the job when she was temporarily suspended from office pending the trial.

Temer was then formally sworn in as president before the congress, with a mandate to serve out the remainder of her term that was due to last until December 2018.


The vote to oust Brazil's first-ever female president was followed by a loud rendition of the national anthem by senators who supported the move. Those who had voted against stood in silence looking shocked.

Reuters reported that motorists honked car horns in the Brazilian capital Brasilia in support of the demise of the deeply unpopular Rousseff whose approval ratings fell to single digits earlier this year.

Rousseff was accused of breaking fiscal responsibility laws in the lead up to her reelection in 2014 when she authorized loans from state banks that hid the depth of the national deficit.

Related: The Impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff Now Seems All but Inevitable

The trial began last Thursday and Rousseff addressed senators in her own defense on Monday.

She told senators that she had done nothing wrong, and that such creative accounting is normal practice in Brazil.

The suspended president also repeated her allegation that the impeachment process — which began about a year ago and gathered steam towards the end of 2015 — is a thinly-disguised coup hatched by corrupt opposition politicians.

Her supporters have highlighted the fact that several of those leading the impeachment charge have been implicated in a massive anti-corruption judicial investigation that has brought down dozens of politicians, including high-level figures within Rousseff's own Workers' Party.

The 68-year-old former Marxist guerrilla who was tortured during the military dictatorship of the 1970s, responded to the vote against her with a strongly worded statement in which the word "coup" appeared multiple times in many different contexts.


"They condemned an innocent woman," she said. "It is a coup against the people and the nation. A misogynist coup. A homophobic coup. A racist coup. It is the imposition of the a culture of intolerance."

The demise of the Rousseff presidency marks the end of over 13 years of Workers' Party governments.

These were kicked off by former metal worker Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who became hugely popular internationally as well as at home thanks to robust growth, policies attacking poverty, and his personal charisma.This has all faded away in recent years thanks to a deep economic recession and the pervasive political crisis.

"When President Lula was elected for the first time in 2003, we formed the government singing together that nobody should be frightened of being happy," Rousseff said in her statement after the impeachment vote. "This story will not end like this. I am sure that this interruption of the process by a coup will not be forever. We will return."

A separate vote on a proposed ban on Rousseff from seeking public office for the next eight years failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority.

Related: Dilma Rousseff: Impeachment trial has 'bitter taste' of torture

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