Brazil’s Senate removed President Dilma Rousseff from office on Wednesday for breaking budgetary laws, ending an impeachment process that has polarized the scandal-plagued country and paralyzed its politics for nine months.
Senators voted 61-20 to convict Rousseff for illegally using money from state banks to boost public spending, putting an end to 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule in Latin America’s largest economy.
Conservative Michel Temer, the former vice president who has run Brazil since Rousseff’s suspension in May, was to be sworn in by the Senate at 4 p.m. local (1900 GMT) on Wednesday to serve out the remainder of the presidential term through 2018.
Under Brazilian law, a dismissed president should be barred from holding any government job, including even teaching posts at state universities.
However, senators voted 42-36 to allow Rousseff to retain the right to hold public office, in an apparent sign of doubts over whether a budgetary sleight of hand that is common in Brazil was truly an impeachable offense.
Brazil’s first female president has denied any wrongdoing and said the impeachment process was a coup d’etat aimed at protecting the interests of the country’s economic elite and rolling back social programs that lifted millions of Brazilians from poverty during the last decade.
A lawyer for Rousseff said she would appeal her dismissal at the Supreme Court.
Her opponents, however, said her removal set the stage for Brazil to emerge from a drawn-out political crisis.
They also hope it will help end the country’s worst recession in generations, even as the political class continues grappling with a sweeping corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras.