With many of the world’s eyes set on the Olympic Games in Rio, Dilma Rousseff began the morning of Wednesday on a melancholic countdown to leave her position for which she was reelected in 2014.
This morning, the Brazilian Senate accepted the complaint against her for serious tax offenses and officially charged Rousseff for the commission of those offenses.
The Senate approved the report that recommends replacing the president by a vote of 59 votes in favor and 21 against; an advantage even broader than the vote that decided to suspend Rousseff in May.
This process puts the president before a final judgment to be held later this month. At that session, if 54 of the 81 senators consider guilty, Rousseff will be stripped of her mandate.
If impeached, Rousseff would become the second candidate from the Workers Party (PT) to hold the post of president of the republic since the country’s return to democracy in 1989, who was taken out by a decision of the National Congress.
Fernando Collor, now affiliated with the PTC, was also impeached in 1992, in a process that had even more consensus than today.
If Rousseff were dismissed, the mandate that expires on January 1, 2019 will be completed by Michel Temer, who until 12 May occupied the vice-presidency and replaced Rousseff on an interim basis since that date, when the process was established and Dilma was suspended from her functions.
Rousseff’s defeat in the full Senate was expected by all parties involved in the process.
Her opponents were mobilized to boost the challenge and her allies had no forces or weapons to avoid this loss.
Meanwhile, the senators who called themselves independent, were divided and voted both in favor and against the trial. Of the 47 deputies who spoke, 30 were in favor of impeachment and 17 against.
The date of the final judgment shall be established by the Supreme Court, which has estimated that the session will last between three and five days, since at that final stage the Senate will hear witnesses from both sides of the process.
The session in the Senate was led by the president of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Aécio Neves, who spoke on behalf of the ten senators to declare their support for the process.
This morning’s session has been one of the longest in the history of the Senate. It started around 9.45 on Tuesday and the crucial vote came past the 1 am on Wednesday.