Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached over corruption. She vows to fight the ‘fraudulent’ decision.
The Senate has 180 days to conduct a trial and decide whether President Dilma Rousseff should be permanently removed from office. Rousseff has promised to use all possible legal means to defend herself.
Speaking hours after the Senate voted to impeach her on Thursday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff blasted the process as “fraudulent” and promised to fight what she characterized as an injustice more painful than the torture she endured under a past military dictatorship.
Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, promised to use all possible legal means to defend herself in the face of a trial in which senators will decide whether to permanently remove her from office for using alleged illegal accounting tricks in managing the federal budget.
“I may have committed errors but I never committed crimes,” Rousseff said during a 14-minute address, at one point choking up. “It’s the most brutal of things that can happen to a human being — to be condemned for a crime you didn’t commit. There is no more devastating injustice.”
The Senate’s decision came after a months-long fight that laid bare the country’s fury over corruption and economic decay, hurling Latin America’s largest country into political turmoil just months before it hosts the Summer Olympics.
Rousseff’s enraged backers threatened wide-scale protests and strikes. Her foes, meanwhile, insisted that she had broken the law, and that the country’s deep political, social and economic woes could only be tackled without her.
The 55-22 vote means that Rousseff’s ally-turned-enemy, Vice-President Michel Temer, will take over as acting president. The Senate has 180 days to conduct a trial and decide whether Rousseff should be permanently removed from office.
“Did anyone think that we would get to 2018 with a recovery under this government? Impossible,” said Jose Serra, the opposition Social Democratic Party’s failed presidential candidate in the 2010 race that brought Rousseff into power. “The impeachment is just the start of the reconstruction.”
Rousseff, 68, argues that she had not been charged with a crime and previous presidents did similar things. She also previously suggested that sexism in the male-dominated Congress played a role in the impeachment.