Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff stands down ahead of impeachment trial

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Rousseff will stand down from her post before her trial (Source: Getty)

Brazil's Senate has brought down President Dilma Rousseff, after they voted strongly in favour of putting the embattled politician on an impeachment trial.

Following a marathon overnight debate, senators voted 55-22 to try Rousseff for breaking budget laws.

The rules mean Rousseff has been suspended from office ahead of her trial.

Read more: Rousseff's impeachment is Brazil's best chance at revival

Rousseff, in office since 2011, will be replaced by vice president Michel Temer, while a senate trial is underway – a process that could take up to six months.

The left-wing leader, speaking shortly before she left Brasilia’s Planalto presidential palace, said she was notified of her suspension this morning.

“I may have made mistakes but I did not commit any crime,” Rousseff said, in an address where she called the upcoming trial “fraudulent” and “a coup.”

The now-ex-president, 68, was flanked by dozens of ministers who will also leave with her administration.

“I never imagined that it would be necessary to fight once again against a coup in this country,” Rousseff said, in a reference to her youth fighting Brazil’s military dictatorship.

Rousseff has been involved in a scandal around state oil company Petrobras, which she once ran – but her trial will centre around allegations she hid the country’s deficit in public accounts, essentially masking the state of Brazil’s economy.

The news came after a debate which ran for more than 20 hours, with over 70 of the upper house’s 81 senators speaking.

Last month the country’s lower house debated the motion, with 342 of the house’s 513 members voting in favour of a trial.

Brazil – the B in the so-called Brics group of large, developing markets – has seen its economy sent into a tailspin due to the falling oil price, the Petrobras corruption scandal and the recent Zika virus outbreak.

To make matters worse, all eyes will soon be on the country as the summer Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro in August.

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