Dilma Rousseff stripped of Brazil presidency in historic impeachment vote

BRAZIL-IMPEACHMENT/ (File) Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff is seen next to Vice President Michel Temer during an event in Brasilia | REUTERS

Brazil's first female leader, Dilma Rousseff, was stripped of the presidency on Wednesday as the country's Senate voted to impeach her for allegedly manipulating the budget.

Rousseff, of the centre-Left Workers' Party, will be replaced by Vice President, Michael Temer.

Temer has been acting as interim leader since she was suspended in May. He will serve out Rousseff's term, which ends on January 1, 2019.

However, a motion to ban her from public office for eight years was defeated, reported The Telegraph.

Lawmakers voted after a five-day hearing in which half a dozen witnesses and more than 60 senators spoke, concluding around 3.30 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

The Senate voted 61-20 to convict Rousseff for allegedly breaking budget laws to manage public accounts before her 2014 re-election.

Two-thirds of Brazil's 81 senators, or 54 votes, were needed to remove Rousseff from power.

Despite never losing an election, Rousseff - who first won power in 2010 - has seen her support among the public and in congress diminish as a result of a sharp economic decline, government paralysis and a massive bribery scandal that has implicated almost all the major parties, the Guardian reported.

For more than 10 months, the leftist leader has fought efforts to impeach her for frontloading funds for government social programmes and issuing spending budget decrees without congressional approval ahead of her reelection in 2014. The opposition claimed that these constituted a "crime of responsibility".

Rousseff denies this and claims the charges - which were never levelled at previous administrations which did the same thing - have been trumped up by opponents who were unable to accept the Workers' party's victory.

In keeping with her pledge to fight until the end for the 54 million voters who put her in office, Rousseff - a former Marxist guerrilla - ended her presidency this week with a gritty 14-hour defence of her government's achievements and a sharply worded attack on the "usurpers" and "coup-mongers" who ejected her from power without an election, The Guardian reported.

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Topics : #Brazil

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