Rousseff to be impeached after Olympics
BRAZIL’S senate voted to hold an impeachment trial for the nation’s suspended president Dilma Rousseff, a process that could see her permanently removed from office.
The August 9 vote in favour of trying Ms Rousseff, who was suspended from the presidency in May, was 59 in favour, 21 against.
The senate suspended Ms Rousseff, the South American nation’s first female president, on May 12 over accusations of illegal accounting practices and fiddling the budget to mask a slumping economy.
Ms Rousseff, 68, has likened the impeachment drive to a putsch by her political enemies.
The impeachment trial is set to open around August 25 – four days after the Olympics closing ceremony – and is expected to last five days, concluding with a judgement vote.
The timing of the nation’s ongoing political crisis could hardly be more awkward for Brazil, which was meant to be showcasing its burgeoning economic clout and political stability with South America’s first Olympics.
At the start of the marathon senate session, which got under way on August 9, Supreme Court president Ricardo Lewandowski reminded senators that they were about to “exercise one of the most serious tasks under the constitution”.
Ms Rousseff ’s opponents had no trouble attaining a simple majority of the 81 senate votes to begin steps to end her presidency.
“What we are talking about today is defending the constitution and democracy. Those who commit crimes must be held responsible,” said Senator Aecio Neves, one of Ms Rousseff’s most fervent opponents.
“The conditions are firmly in place for removing Dilma Rousseff.”
About 250 of Ms Rousseff’s supporters demonstrated in central Sao Paulo, while in the senate chamber in Brasilia her allies defended her.
“Today is not a good day for our democracy,” said Senator Paulo Rocha. “There is a political alliance that smells of a coup.”
Impeachment would not only seal Ms Rousseff’s political fate, but would bring an end to 13 years of leftist rule in Brazil: Her political mentor, president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva preceded her in office.
But in recent months, Mr Lula, as he is called, has encountered political problems of his own.
Officials recently announced that
the 70-year old leftist leader will be put on trial for allegedly trying to obstruct a corruption probe into Petrobras, the national oil concern.
Since Ms Rousseff’s suspension, her deeply unpopular vice president Michel Temer has served as interim leader, as the nation struggles to emerge from its worst recession in decades. –
Supporters of suspended Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff protest against interi Avenue, Sao Paulo, on August 9.
m president Michel Temer on Paulista