Brazil’s Senate strips Dilma Rousseff of presidency

Sixty-one of 81 senators vote against Rousseff in impeachment trial, but do not ban her from seeking office again.

Rousseff is accused of taking illegal state loans [Eraldo Peres/AP]

Dilma Rousseff has been removed as Brazil’s president following a long-awaited vote in the country’s Senate. 

Sixty-one of 81 senators voted to impeach Rousseff on Wednesday after a five-day trial and a lengthy overnight debate.

“Today is the day that 61 men, many of them charged and corrupt, threw 54 million Brazilian votes in the garbage,” Rousseff said in a message on Twitter minutes after the decision.

Brazil: Dilma Rousseff denies allegations at impeachment trial

In a separate vote later on Wednesday, senators decided not to ban Rousseff from seeking a public office for the next eight years.

Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman, reporting from the capital Brasilia, said Rousseff, who was watching the session from the presidential palace, was expected to hold a press conference later on Wednesday. 

Speaking to reporters after the vote, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, Rousseff’s lawyer, said the former president would appeal her impeachment.

But several motions filed to the country’s highest court throughout the impeachment proceedings have failed.

Rousseff’s former vice president turned rival Michel Temer, 75, will be sworn in as president on Wednesday until the next scheduled election in late 2018.

WATCH: Is Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff a victim of a coup?

Rousseff, from the leftist Workers’ Party, is accused of taking illegal state loans to patch budget holes in 2014, masking the country’s problems as it slid into its deepest recession in decades.

She told the Senate that she was innocent, saying the impeachment trial amounted to a right-wing “coup d’etat”.

Rousseff asserted that impeachment was the price she paid for refusing to quash a wide-ranging police investigation into the state oil giant Petrobras, saying that corrupt politicians conspired to oust her to derail the investigation into billions in kickbacks at the company.

She said it was “an irony of history” that she would be judged for crimes she did not commit, by people accused of serious crimes.

The Workers’ Party under Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is credited with raising around 29 million Brazilians out of poverty.

But many now blame the party, and Rousseff in particular, for the country’s multiple ills.

Brazil’s Dilma impeachment: A case study in hypocrisy? – UpFront

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies