Brazil’s senators have voted to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial over allegations that she illegally manipulated the budget to hide a growing fiscal deficit.
After a marathon debate ending with a vote on Thursday, 55 of the 81 senators voted in favour of impeachment while 22 voted against.
President Rousseff will now be suspended from office and Vice President, Michel Temer will take over for up to six months pending a decision on whether to remove her from office permanently.
Rousseff’s presidency has been damaged by corruption scandals, political paralysis and a sharp economic downturn.
She does not personally face corruption charges, but is accused of breaking budget accounting rules ahead of her 2014 re-election campaign.
Brazil impeachment trial
- The Senate has 180 days maximum to conduct hearing, which will be monitored by the chief justice of the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the country’d top court.
- If two-third of 81 Senators then supports impeachment, she will be permanently removal from office.
- She will have to step down immediately in case of a “yes” vote and will be banned from public office for eight years.
- The Vice president is in charge during her suspension and will complete rest of the Presidential tenure until 2018 in case of a “yes” vote.
- If the Senate votes against the impeachment or if no decision is taken within the stipulated 180 days, Rousseff’s suspension wil end and she will return as President.
As Senators debated in Brasilia, where a metal fence was erected to keep apart rival protests, about 6,000 backers of impeachment chanted “Out with Dilma” while police used pepper spray to disperse gangs of Rousseff supporters, who hurled flares back.
One person was arrested for inciting violence. In Sao Paulo, the economic capital of Brazil, people on both sides of the debate also took to the streets.