Time: 9:04 p.m. CEST
Brazil’s Senate voted on Thursday to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and start an impeachment trial against her, the New York Times reported. Rousseff was a focus to the public anger due to the systemic corruption and a battered economy. The Senate voted 55 to 22, where the lawmakers accepted the charges against Rousseff, with accusation for borrowing from state banks to conceal a looming deficit, which her critics think it helped her to secure re-election two years ago.
“We could no longer ignore these crimes and thus voted for impeachment,” Álvaro Dias, a senator from the Green Party, said shortly before casting his vote. “Having been assaulted by incompetence and wrongdoing, Brazilians expect punishment,” Dias said, as published by the Times.
The impeachment trial could last in the next six months. Rousseff is replaced with the Vice President Michel Temer, who will need to overcome an extra pressure to stop the biggest economic crisis in decades. But, his legacy is already with burden with a conviction of the violation of campaign finance limits.
Rousseff tried to remain in office and hours before she left the presidential post and leading one of the economy-leading countries of Latin America, she said, according to the Times. “The struggle for democracy doesn’t have an end date,” she said in a speech Thursday, shortly before vacating the presidential office. “It’s a permanent fight that requires our constant dedication. It’s a fight that can be won, and it is one we will win.”
The political turmoil happens during Brazil’s fight with ZIKA virus and before the beginning of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer. Rousseff is not facing the accusations for illegal enrichment, the Times publishes.
For example, Eduardo Cunha, “the powerful speaker of the lower house, who led the impeachment effort, was ordered by the Supreme Court to step down last week to face trial on charges that he pocketed as much as $40 million in bribes.”
Rousseff successor would need to adopt unpopular austerity measures. Critics of Temer already expressed concerns over his top advisers, who are facing personal investigations, but he refuted those remarks. Temer could face, as the business leaders and economists expressed, need to pass in the Congress, support for reducing federal pensions, privatizing state-owned companied and amending labor laws.
“Temer has 100 days to get the ball rolling and address this disaster,” said Marcos Troyjo, a co-director of the BRICLab at Columbia University, which focuses on Brazil, Russia, India and China, the Times says.
On Thursday, the White House press secretary Josh Earnest briefly commented the developments in Brazil. “This is an outcome that many observers expected; the President does continue to have confidence and durability of Brazil’s democratic institutions to withstand political turmoil there,” Earnest said.
He was not aware by any calls from the White House to Brazil’s acting president, but referred the correspondents to the State Department. Earnest also added, the U.S. will going to respect, “the Brazilian government as they follow the rules and traditions for governing their country.”