Brazil Senate Votes to Oust President Dilma Rousseff From Office
Brazil’s Senate voted on Wednesday to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office–an expected but nonetheless historic result, given that Rousseff was Brazil’s first female president.
Rousseff is accused of corruption and breaking fiscal laws, which her critics say aggravated the already bad economic situation in Brazil. Rousseff has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing ever since she was suspended from office in May this year. In the Senate, 61 voted for her impeachment on Wednesday, and 20 against. Upon hearing the result, she said, “Today is the day that 61 men, many of them charged and corrupt, threw 54 million Brazilian votes in the garbage.”
During the hearing she also said:
I’m here to look in your eyes and say with the serenity of someone who has nothing to hide that I haven’t committed any crimes of responsibility. I have not committed the crimes of which I have been unjustly and arbitrarily accused.
— Women in the World (@WomenintheWorld) August 31, 2016
This means the end of a 13 year-long rule of the left-wing Worker’s Party, and the end for the country’s first female President. Rousseff, 68, used to be a guerilla fighter during the dictatorship in the 1970s. She was elected in 2011, and then reelected in 2014. At the time, the country’s economy was in really bad shape, and she did not manage to fix it. Even though she stands accused of further ruining the economy and corruption, she has never been formally charged with a crime.
Rousseff claims she has been ousted because she allowed a corruption investigation to go on, which lead to several politicians being charged. So the question is whether she is actually guilty of a crime, or if the opposition just wanted to get rid of a leader who drained the country’s economy.
In a second vote on Wednesday, the Senate decided whether or not to ban Rousseff from public office for the next eight years. This time the majority voted no, with 42 votes against and 36 for, meaning she could technically return to politics whenever she wants.
Acting President Michel Temer will take Rousseff’s place until the next election in 2018.
Rousseff’s parting words to her supporters were, “Right now, I will not say goodbye to you. I am certain I can say: ‘See you soon.’”