Brazil President Dilma Rousseff sacked by Senate over budget padding


01 Sep 2016 | by BBC online
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Brazil President Dilma Rousseff sacked by Senate over budget padding

Brazil's Senate has voted to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office for manipulating the budget.

It puts an end to the 13 years in power of her left-wing Workers' Party. Ms Rousseff had denied the charges.

Sixty-one senators voted in favour of her dismissal and 20 against, meeting the two-thirds majority needed to remove her from the presidency.

Michel Temer has been sworn in as president and will serve out Ms Rousseff's term until 1 January 2019.

The centre-right PMDB party politician had been serving as acting president during the impeachment proceedings.

During his first cabinet meeting since the vote, Mr Temer said his inauguration marked a "new era".

He asked his ministers to "vigorously defend" the government from accusations that Ms Rousseff's dismissal amounted to a coup d'etat.

"We can't leave one accusation unanswered," he said during the meeting, which was broadcast live on television.

He also told ministers to work closely with the Congress to revive the Brazilian economy. Mr Temer is travelling to China to take part in a summit of the G-20 group of major economies.

The dismissal of Ms Rousseff has caused a rift between Brazil and three left-wing South American governments that criticised the move later on Wednesday.

Brazil and Venezuela recalled each other's ambassadors. Brazilian envoys to Bolivia and Ecuador have also been ordered home.

'See you soon'

Ms Rousseff lost the impeachment battle but won 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.'"

She added: "They have convicted an innocent person and carried out a parliamentary coup."

Anti-Temer demonstrations were held in many cities, including Brasilia.

Ms Rousseff was suspended in May after the Senate voted to go ahead with the impeachment process.

She was accused of moving funds between government budgets, which is illegal under Brazilian law.

Her critics said she was trying to plug deficit holes in popular social programmes to boost her chances of being re-elected in 2014.

Picture of the Senate's plenary session taken during the impeachment vote against suspended President Dilma Rousseff, at the Senate in Brasilia, on August 31, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionSenators did not back a move to bar Ms Rousseff from public office for eight years

Ms Rousseff fought the allegations, arguing that her right-wing rivals had been trying to remove her from office ever since her re-election.


Dilma Rousseff

Infographic showing the stages taken to remove Rousseff from office
  • Born in 1947, grew up in an upper middle class household in Belo Horizonte
  • Her father was Bulgarian immigrant and an ex-communist
  • Joined left-wing movement against Brazil's military dictatorship which had seized power in 1964
  • Detained in 1970 and imprisoned for three years
  • Subjected to torture including electric shocks for her role in the underground resistance
  • Came to political prominence as the protege of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2011
  • Sworn in as Brazil's first female president in 2011
  • Re-elected to a second term in 2014
  • Impeached on 31 August 2016

She said 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.


Analysis by Daniel Gallas, BBC South Americas Business Correspondent

Dilma Rousseff's impeachment trial in the Senate has raised important questions about Brazil's democratic institutions.

Was she ousted for having committed a crime - or was that just a pretext to remove a president who had lost control of the economy and politics?

Her fiscal manoeuvres were thoroughly examined during the sessions, but it was not just that which was on trial.

Her government policies, her U-turn on the economy after the election and corruption in her party were constantly part of the debate.

Also, as the trial unfolded, Michel Temer's interim government started its work reforming the economy and outlining new policies.

Senators - and Brazilians - knew that the question of condemning Ms Rousseff went beyond just deciding technically whether she was guilty or not.

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