Brazil senate ousts Dilma Rousseff

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Suspended president Dilma Rousseff was impeached by Brazil's senate on Wednesday and permanently removed from office.

In the vote, 61 of 81 senators opted to oust the country's first woman president, which means interim president Michel Temer will serve out what remains of her second term, ending January 1, 2019. The votes of two-thirds of the upper house, or 54 senators, were needed to remove Rousseff on charges of breaching fiscal rules to hide a ballooning budget deficit ahead of her 2014 reelection.

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The impeachment process ends 13 years of workers party (PT) rule, begun under Rousseff's mentor, ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who faces legal troubles of his own.

In a second senate vote on Wednesday, Rousseff kept her right to run for public office in the next eight years with a tally of 42 votes in favor to 36. The same two-thirds majority was required for her to be stripped of her ability to be elected again.

On Monday, Rousseff defended herself for 45 minutes before the senators, recalling that she was democratically elected by 54.5mn votes and touching on her torture under the country's military dictatorship, and then answered questions for 14 hours, denying any participation in budget manipulations.

Senators heard on Tuesday from Rousseff's defense attorney as well as the lawyer who first registered the request for the suspended president's impeachment, Janaina Paschoal, who cried while speaking.

"I apologize because I know that, even though it was not my goal, I've caused you pain," she said in the senate, addressing Rousseff, who was not present. "And I pray that she [Rousseff] one day understands that I did this thinking, too, of her grandchildren."

Senators were then allowed to speak, taking the Tuesday session into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Rousseff was accused of making changes to three supplementary credit decrees without approval from congress and using money from state banks to conceal a federal budget deficit.​

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