In a political earthquake ending 13 years of leftist rule over Latin America’s biggest nation, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was suspended to face impeachment. The Brazilian senate debated over 22-hoursand voted with an overwhelming 55-22 vote against Brazil’s first female president.
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.
A onetime Marxist guerrilla tortured under the country’s military dictatorship in the 1970s, Rousseff has denounced the impeachment drive as a coup and vowed to fight on during her trial.
A crowd of supporters was planning to gather outside the presidential palace to salute her as she drove off.
Within hours, Michel Temer from the center-right PMDB party, will 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 and end the paralysis gripping Congress during the battle over Rousseff.
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.
The multiple crises have left the country divided between those blaming Rousseff and those loyal to the Workers’ Party, whose transformative social programs have lifted tens of millions of people from poverty.
(With inputs from agencies)