Thursday, May 12, 2016 9:38 am
A majority of Brazil’s Senate indicated on Thursday it will vote to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial for breaking budget laws, signalling the end of 13 years of rule by the country’s leftist Workers Party.
In a marathon session of speeches, 41 of the 81 senators in Latin America’s largest nation had indicated by the early hours of Thursday morning that they would vote to try Rousseff, a move that would suspend Brazil’s first woman president.
The final vote, expected around dawn, (Brazilian time)would make Vice President Michel Temer acting president during her trial, which can last for up to six months.
Outside Congress, where a metal fence was erected to keep apart rival protests, about 6,000 backers of impeachment had earlier chanted “Out with Dilma” while police used pepper spray to disperse gangs of Rousseff supporters, who hurled flares back. One person was arrested for inciting violence.
Rousseff prepared for defeat by planning her exit from the presidential palace. Aides said she will dismiss her ministers on Thursday morning and tell them not to help a transition to a Temer government because she considers her impeachment illegal.
Temer plans to swear in new ministers on Thursday afternoon, Senator Romero Juca, head of his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), told reporters.
Rousseff, who has been in office since 2011, has seen her popularity crushed by Brazil’s worst recession since the 1930s and a two-year probe into a vast kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA: Quote).
The prospect of business-friendly Temer taking power has driven Brazilian financial markets sharply higher this year, on hopes he could cut a massive fiscal deficit, restore investor confidence and return the economy to growth.