Brazilian President ImpeachedSeptember 2, 2016 in Brazil
Brazil’s Senate voted on 31 August to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office for manipulating the budget, effectively putting an end to the thirteen years in power of her left-wing Worker’s Party. Ms Rousseff has denied the charges. Michel Temer has been sworn in as president and will serve the remainder of Ms Rousseff’s term until 1 January 2019. He has promised to boost Brazil’s economy, which is going through its longest and deepest recession in the past quarter of a century. His critics have already warned that he plans to cut many of the popular social programmes that had been introduced by the Workers’ Party.
Sixty-one senators voted in favour of her dismissal and twenty against, effectively meeting the two-thirds majority needed to remove her from the presidency.
During his first cabinet meeting since the vote, Mr Temer disclosed that his inauguration marked a “new era.” The centre-right PMDB party politician had been serving as acting president during the impeachment proceedings. During the meeting, which was broadcast live on television, he asked his ministers to “vigorously defend” the government from accusations that Ms Rousseff’s dismissal amounted to a coup d’état, adding, “we can’t leave one accusation unanswered.” He also told ministers to work closely with the Congress in order to rive the Brazilian economy.
The dismissal of Ms Rousseff has caused a rift between Brazil and three left-wing South American governments, who shortly after the vote was announced criticized the move. Brazil and Venezuela recalled each other’s ambassadors, while Brazilian envoys to Bolivia and Ecuador have also ben ordered home. In the wake of the vote, anti-Temer demonstrations were held in a number of cities, including Brasilia.
While Ms Rousseff lost the impeachment battle, she did win a separate Senate vote that had sought to ban her from public office for eight years. Pledging to appeal against her dismissal, she told her supporters, “I will not say goodbye to you. I am certain I can say: ‘See you soon,’” adding, “they have convicted an innocent person and carried out a parliamentary coup.” In May, Ms Rousseff was suspended after the Senate voted to go ahead with the impeachment process. She was accused of moving funds between government budgets, which under Brazilian law is illegal. Her critics stated that she was trying to plug deficit holes in popular social programmes in a bid to boost her chances of being re-elected in 2014. Ms Rousseff fought the allegations, arguing that her right-wing rivals had been trying to remove her from office ever since her re-election, adding that she was being ousted because she had allowed a wide-ranging corruption investigation to go ahead, which resulted in many high-profile politicians being charged. Senators who voted on Wednesday in favour to remove her from office have disclosed that Ms Rousseff and the Workers’ Party are the ones who were corrupt, adding that they needed to go.