Brasilia, May 12 (IANS) Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is set to face trial after the Senate on Thursday voted to impeach and suspend her.
Fifty-five of the 81 members of Brazil’s upper house voted in favour of the motion. Twenty-two voted against, BBC reported.
Rousseff, the country’s first woman president, is accused of illegally manipulating finances to hide a growing public deficit ahead of her re-election in 2014, which she has denied.
Vice-President Michel Temer will now assume the presidency while Rousseff’s trial takes place which may last upto 180 days, media reports said.
Rousseff made a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to stop proceedings, but the move was rejected. Her suspension brings an end to 13 years of the rule of her Workers’ Party.
The senators were each given 15 minutes to speak, with a buzzer indicating when their time was up. In total 71 of the house’s 81 members spoke.
Former president Fernando Collor de Mello, himself impeached by the senate in 1992, said that he feels the country has “regressed politically”, CNN reported.
His colleague Armando Monteiro said the impeachment was politically motivated and would set a dangerous precedence.
“We will, indeed, be promoting a rupture in the nation’s institutional order.”
Rousseff, who was first sworn into office in January 2011 and started a second term in 2015, has called the steps to remove her a “coup”.
Rousseff has been also blamed for the worst recession since the 1930s, now in its second year.
Senator Waldemir Moka told the upper house during the motion that if the impeachment trial was successful, the future president would assume a government with a 250 billion Brazilian real debt ($72 billion) according to conservative projections, with the possibility of being up to 600 billion real ($174 billion).
Rousseff would be suspended during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro which starts on August 5.
When the investigation ends — which could be as late as November — the process would return to a special Senate committee.
At that point, Rousseff would have 20 days to present her case. Following that, the committee would vote on a final determination and then present it for a vote in the full senate.
It would take a two-thirds majority to then remove the president from office.