Friday 24 March 2017

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff loses impeachment vote

Brazil’s lawmakers celebrate after they reached the votes needed to authorise President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment to go ahead, at the Congress in Brasilia. Photo: AFP
Brazil’s lawmakers celebrate after they reached the votes needed to authorise President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment to go ahead, at the Congress in Brasilia. Photo: AFP
Many Brazilians hold president president Dilma Rousseff responsible for everything from the devastating recession to chronic high taxes (AP)

Maria Carolina Marcello in Rio de Janeiro

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's government vowed yesterday to fight impeachment after the lower house of congress delivered a humiliating defeat that paved the way for her likely removal from office months before the country hosts the Olympics.

Fireworks lit up the night sky in Brazil's megacities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro after the opposition comfortably surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to send Ms Rousseff for trial in the senate. She is accused of manipulating budget accounts.

The floor of the lower house was a sea of Brazilian flags and pumping fists as dozens of lawmakers carried in their arms the deputy who cast the decisive 342nd vote, after three days of a marathon debate. The final tally was 367 votes cast in favour of impeachment, versus 137 against, and seven abstentions. Two lawmakers did not show up to vote.

If the senate votes by a simple majority in early May to proceed with the impeachment, as expected, Ms Rousseff would be suspended from her post and be replaced by vice-president Michel Temer as acting president, pending her trial. Mr Temer would serve out Ms Rousseff's term until 2018 if she is found guilty.

However, attorney general Jose Eduardo Cardozo said: "The president will not be disheartened and will not stop fighting."

The government has said it will fight on several fronts by challenging the vote in the supreme court, organising street protests against impeachment and seeking to secure the votes in the senate to block a trial.

Irish Independent

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