Brazil boots Rouss­eff from of­fice

Na­tion’s 1st fe­male pres­i­dent calls Se­nate move ‘a par­lia­men­tary coup,’ vows ap­peal

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD - By Vin­cent Bevins

RIO DE JANEIRO — After months of bit­terly con­tested pro­ceed­ings, Brazil’s Se­nate voted over­whelm­ingly Wed­nes­day to re­move Pres­i­dent Dilma Rouss­eff from of­fice, mark­ing a tur­bu­lent fi­nale to 13 years of cen­ter-left gov­ern­ment in Latin Amer­ica’s largest coun­try.

Rouss­eff, a one­time guer­rilla turned econ­o­mist and the na­tion’s first fe­male pres­i­dent, was con­victed 6120 of break­ing fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity law. Her more con­ser­va­tive vice pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer will serve out the rest of her term, which ex­pires in 2018.

The im­peach­ment vote came as no surprise — se­na­tors had long sig­naled their in­ten­tions. Still, it rocked a na­tion that, after bask­ing in the world’s at­ten­tion dur­ing last month’s Olympics, con- tin­ues to be sad­dled by a crip­pling re­ces­sion, an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into wide­spread cor­rup­tion and a cri­sis of con­fi­dence in the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem.

Soon after the fi­nal vote, Rouss­eff de­scended to the lobby of the pres­i­den­tial palace in Brasilia and gave a de­fi­ant speech to sup­port­ers.

“The se­na­tors who voted for im­peach­ment de­cided to rip up the Con­sti­tu­tion … they con­demned an in­no­cent per­son and car­ried out a par­lia­men­tary coup,” said Rouss­eff, who was sur­rounded mostly by women and vowed to ap­peal the de­ci­sion.

“They think they won, but they’re wrong. I know we will all fight,” she said.

Rouss­eff then ended by quot­ing a poem writ­ten by Soviet-era Rus­sian artist Vladimir Mayakovsky, and left to shouts of “Out with Te­mer!” — a chant of­ten A de­fi­ant Dilma Rouss­eff blasts the 61-20 Se­nate im­peach­ment vote Wed­nes­day. Brazil­ian Vice Pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer will serve out the rest of her term, which ex­pires in 2018. heard dur­ing last month’s Olympic com­pe­ti­tions.

It’s un­clear if an ap­peal has any chance of suc­cess, but Rouss­eff’s at­tor­ney, for­mer Jus­tice Min­is­ter Jose Ed­uardo Car­dozo, is al­ready con­sid­er­ing ar­gu­ments he can bring to the coun­try’s Supreme Court.

Over the last few days, as Rouss­eff pro­claimed her in­no­cence and protesters in some cities clashed with po­lice and fires blocked main ar­ter­ies, but the demon­stra­tions were smaller than those that called for her ouster ear­lier this year and led to her tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion in May.

“I was no fan of Rouss­eff’s gov­ern­ment. It made se­ri­ous mis­takes. But at least she was elected le­git­i­mately,” said Michelle Brito, 33, who at­tempted to join a protest against Te­mer’s new gov­ern­ment near her work Tues­day night in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, be­fore be­ing turned away by tear gas, ex­plo­sions and crowds run­ning from po­lice.

“I be­lieve the men who took over did so cyn­i­cally and with the worst in­ten­tions,” Brito said. “They wanted to take power with­out hav­ing to face democ­racy, and I fear now for how we may suf­fer.”

How the rest of Latin Amer­ica will re­act is un­clear, but so far, Venezuela, Bo­livia and Ecuador have said they will re­call their am­bas­sadors from Brazil.

Though polls showed a ma­jor­ity of Brazil­ians wanted Rouss­eff out be­fore the im­peach­ment process started, a ma­jor­ity also wanted to re­move Te­mer.

Re­cent polling sug­gests a ma­jor­ity pre­ferred new elec­tions and only half the coun­try be­lieved im­peach­ment was be­ing car­ried out in full ac­cor­dance with the law.

The Supreme Court, how­ever, al­lowed the Se­nate to de­cide if Rouss­eff’s of-

LEO COR­REA/AP

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