Wednesday, August 10, 2016 6:27 pm
The Brazilian Senate voted in the early hours of Wednesday to put suspended President Dilma Rousseff on an impeachment trial.
At the end of a lengthy session that lasted over 15 hours, senators voted 59 to 21 to approve the trial, surpassing the 41 votes needed to open the trial.
Rousseff is accused of committing fiscal fraud to balance the 2014 budget. The trial is expected to begin in late August or early September.
In the session, senators for and against Rousseff’s impeachment made their points in long speeches.
The opposition said that the president committed a crime of financial responsibility by resorting to fiscal maneuvers to balance the budget, which is written in the country’s law and punishable by impeachment.
They blamed Rousseff’s decisions for the current state of the Brazilian economy: Brazil is currently facing a recession with no end in sight, and unemployment and inflation are on the rise.
Rousseff’s supporters said that the fiscal maneuvers to which she resorted did not constitute crime of financial responsibility and were perfectly legal decisions at the time. On their side is a recent statement made by the Brazilian Accounts Court, which found no irregularities in Rousseff’s decisions.
According to her allies, Rousseff is falling victim of a soft coup disguised as an impeachment process. Though the rites of the impeachment process seem to be followed, the fact that no crime has been committed turns the process illegitimate, they argued.
The president herself denounced the impeachment process as a plot of the office of Vice President Michel Temer, whose difficult relationship with Rousseff turned into full-blown hostility and culminated in the dissolution of the alliance between Rousseff’s Workers’ Party and Temer’s Brazilian Democratic Movement Party earlier this year.
Temer has been in office since May, when Rousseff was suspended by the Senate. Though his administration is in theory temporary, it took measures of a much more permanent trait. The interim president’s administration carried out measures that would damage the Workers’ Party, such as labor rights and social programs.
In addition, there is a discussion about corruption. Temer, unlike Rousseff, has been accused of taking millions in bribes.
The Federal Police’s Carwash Operation, which has investigated the huge Petrobras corruption scheme for over two years, is regarded as dangerous to high-profile politicians, some of whom were caught on tape planning to start an impeachment process against Rousseff in order to put Temer in office and halt the operation.
In the final trial, Russeff’s opposition needs a two-thirds majority, or 54 votes in Senate. In order to escape impeachment, Rousseff needs to change the minds of a handful of senators, a highly difficult feat.
Source: Xinhua News