Dilma Rousseff removed from Presidency
Dilma Rousseff was impeached in the early hours of Thursday May 12. The voting in favor of removing Rousseff was carried out at the end of a historic session in which a large majority of the Senate voted to initiate her impeachment.
Rousseff’s exit from the presidency marks the end of over 13 years of the leftist Workers Party (PT) in power in the South American giant.
At the end of a long session that lasted nearly 22 hours, 55 senators (of a total of 81) were in favor of judging the president and removing her from power for 180 days for allegedly using fiscal maneuvers to swell the government’s coffers during her reelection campaign in 2014.
Rousseff, a 68 year old, former guerrilla member and a left winger politician, took over power in 2011 as the first woman president of Brazil. Now, just months after beginning her second term, Rousseff is being substituted by her Vice President Michel Temer, a 75-year-old member of the PMDB, one of several opposition parties.
The president leaves office with only 10% popularity, amid a severe economic downturn and a corruption scandal that has tainted much of the power elite in Brasilia. After being booted out of office, Dilma won’t be present at the opening of the Olympic Games that will be held in August in Rio de Janeiro.
“It is disproportionate, it is as if we punished a traffic violation with the death penalty,” said Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, a former member of Rousseff’s cabinet and a member of the Worker’s Party (PT).
“Impeachment is a bitter medicine, but a necessary one” in the face of the current low and eroding support that Rousseff has, rising unemployment and falling production, said opposition Senator Jose Serra (PSDB), who may become the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the new government led by Temer.
Rousseff’s final dismissal will require the support of two-thirds of the Senate – 54 votes of a total of 81 – at the end of the impeachment process. number is lower than that of the votes that were recorded Thursday in the Senate, which makes it very unlikely that Rousseff will return to power.
Many Dilma supporters have questioned the impeachment process due to the fact that a large number of House and Senate members are themselves accused of corruption.
A study by Transparency Brazil revealed that 61% of the 81 members of the Senate have been convicted or accused of crimes at some point.
Brazilians followed the debates in Congress from their homes or in bars, but few people took to the streets, contrary to the mass protests seen last year.
“I want to say that I will not support the new government,” said Graziano Cassanega, a 35-year-old salesman. He is one of many PT supporters who still follow Dilma, Lula and the Worker’s Party.
With Rousseff gone from office, her Vice president Temer, and former ally, is now one of her main enemies.
Temer’s arrival to power is by no means a sign that things will improve in Brazil. He has very low popularity and faces enormous challenges, almost the same as those that sank Rousseff.
Temer is now set to announce the names of some of the people who will become members of his cabinet.
Dilma was re-elected in October 2014 for another four years, with 77% popularity at the beginning of her first term. Her popularity was driven by social programs that allegedly lifted millions of people out of poverty, but that had a very high cost to the country, since the government simply did nothing to improve economic conditions and relied only on taxing individuals and companies as a way to maintain its current social bribery system.