Brazil’s Senate ousts Dilma Rousseff in impeachment vote

Updated 2:53 AM EDT, Thu September 1, 2016
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Story highlights

NEW: President Michel Temer meets with Cabinet, promises to address economic woes

A motion to bar former President Dilma Rousseff from public office for the next eight years fails

CNN —  

Brazil’s first female president is out of a job, but not barred from the ballot if she wants to run again.

The South American country’s Senate voted 61-20 Wednesday to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office, finding her guilty of breaking budgetary laws in an impeachment trial.

Michel Temer, Rousseff’s former vice president who has been serving as interim president since her suspension in May, will assume the office of president and serve out the remainder of her term. Temer, a leader of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, was sworn in Wednesday afternoon.

Temer, 75, inherits a tattered economy, along with the keys to the presidential palace in Brasilia, the nation’s capital.

He met with his Cabinet and promised to tackle unemployment.

“I am not saying it is an easy task, since we have almost 12 million people unemployed in this country,” he said, according to a CNN translation. “It’s a scary number, and there is nothing less dignified than unemployment.”

A general election is scheduled for 2018.

Wednesday’s vote marked the culmination of a contentious impeachment process that has dragged on for months. The political crisis came as Brazil hosted the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this month, while the country has also been trying to pull itself out of recession.

Brazil’s first female president is out of a job but hasn’t been barred from the ballot if she wants to run again – a motion to bar her from holding any public office for the next eight years failed.

While the vote to oust her from office was decisive, a motion to bar her from holding any public office for the next eight years failed.

Rousseff, 68, a former Marxist guerrilla, said this week that she had committed no crime and was proud she’d been “faithful to my commitment to the nation.”

Sen. Lindbergh Farias of Rousseff’s Workers’ Party made an impassioned plea against her impeachment.

“This is a farce. This is a pretext. This is absolutely irrelevant. There are two types of senators, the one that know there was no crime of responsibility and vote against the impeachment and those that know there was no crime of responsibility and vote in favor,” he said, shouting from the Senate floor.

Sen. Ronaldo Caiado of the Democrats argued for Rousseff’s ouster, saying that lawmakers weren’t the ones behind the impeachment process.

“It began because 90% of the population has said loudly, no more (Workers’ Party),” he said.

In May, Rousseff called the impeachment proceedings an attempt at a power grab by her rivals. She said her government has long been the target of political sabotage.

The heir to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Rousseff was re-elected by a narrow margin in 2014, but a recession and a cross-party corruption scandal put an end to any political goodwill she might have earned, eventually leading to her ouster.

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