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Brazil’s Senate sends Rousseff to trial
August 10, 2016, 6:29 pm

Temer, Rousseff's replacement, is very unpopular in Brazil; polls show voters want elections - and not his presidency - if Rousseff is impeached [Xinhua]

Temer, Rousseff’s replacement, is very unpopular in Brazil; polls show voters want elections – and not his presidency – if Rousseff is impeached [Xinhua]

Brazil’s Senate voted 59 to 21 to uphold charges that suspended President Dilma Rousseff mismanaged the federal budget and broke a number of fiscal policy rules during her reelection campaign two years ago.

Rousseff has persistently denied the charges and accused the Senate of orchestrating a coup to remove her from a democratically elected office after she won a second presidential term in 2014.

In a session that lasted nearly 15 hours, senators early Wednesday indicted her and voted to put Rousseff on trial in what will be the final stage of an impeachment process which began last May.

Last week, a 21-member impeachment committee voted overwhelmingly to put her on trial. That vote led to today’s senate proceedings.

Wednesday’s vote showed that there was growing momentum to impeach and remove her from office – more senators voted now than in May to have her presidency terminated. The pro-impeachment senators need just 54 votes – two-thirds of the 81-seat Senate – to impeach her.

On Wednesday, they secured 59 votes.

Rousseff’s Vice-President Michel Temer took over the presidency in the interim after she was suspended in May.

If she is finally impeached later this month, he will serve as president for the remainder of her mandate.

But some national polls say that Brazilians are fed up with corrupt politicians leading the country and would rather see an election held after impeachment.

Temer himself is considered corrupt and is just slightly less unpopular than Rousseff.

Last week, Brazilian news magazine Veja reported that Marcelo Odebrecht, the former chief executive of Latin America’s largest construction company, admitted in a plea bargain testimony that he personally oversaw illegal campaign donations for Temer in 2014.

Odebrecht, the scion of the family that controls the company, formally known as Odebrecht SA, was sentenced to 19 years in prison after being convicted of corruption and money laundering in the Petrobras corruption case in March.

Rousseff’s fate will be decided with a verdict expected by the end of August. Though chances are slim she will be exonerated, the constitution holds that in such a case she would be immediately reinstated.

If that happens, Rousseff has said she would call a referendum on holding early elections.

The BRICS Post with input from Agencies

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