Puts an end to the PT (Workers Party) era
By Isaac Risco (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES – The Brazilian Senate on Wednesday ended definitively the presidency of Dilma Rousseff. A clear majority of over two-thirds voted for the removal of the president, suspended from office since May for committing alleged malfeasance. Her dismissal ended more than 13 years of government of the Workers Party (PT).
After heated interventions, 61 senators voted against Rousseff. Only 20 legislators, most of them from the PT, rejected the controversial “impeachment” started almost nine months ago, amid Brazil’s severe economic crisis. Vice President Michel Temer, a conservative, officially took over as head of state, position he already exercised temporarily since May 12, until the elections scheduled for late 2018.
None of the senators abstained from voting on the “impeachment” which closed a long political and legal battle also marked by months of numerous personal intrigues. Opponents of Rousseff got seven votes more than they needed to impeach the president.
Rousseff, 68, was not prevented from any future exercising of public office as part of her adversaries sought. The motion to exclude her participation, received a majority of votes (42 against 36, with 3 abstentions), but did not reach the necessary two-thirds majority.
Rousseff’s defense had asked for the two votes to be separated before the start of the final session, to prevent the vote for the “impeachment” to automatically exclude her ability to seek office.
The final part of the process was marked last Thursday by a combative speech from Rousseff, saying the impeachment was a “coup” against her, as well as by hard and emotional interventions from her supporters and critics in the Senate.
Senator Lindbergh Farias of the PT vehemently described as a “farce” the process before the start of the vote. However, the Senate president, Renan Caheiros, said the decision to dismiss Rousseff “has the DNA of democracy, of the Constitution”.
The president was dismissed over allegations that her government committed irregularities when using accounting tricks to hide the true fiscal deficit.
Impeachment against Rousseff is controversial because the actions for which she was dismissed were used by past governments in Brazil. Rousseff was not accused of corruption.
“The accusations against me are mere pretexts,” said the president on Monday defending himself during her last official speech to the Senate. Once again she accused the opposition of executing a “parliamentary coup”.
Rousseff called Temer a “traitor” and opportunist after he left the government coalition in March to support the process of “impeachment”. Temer participated since 2011 in the PT led government alliance with the center-right Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB).
The impeachment of Rousseff formally began in December 2015, when the lower house of the legislature agreed to process for complaints against Rousseff, the second Brazilian head of state to be dismissed after Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992.
The process against the leftist leader is framed in several corruption scandals that involve virtually the entire political class of Brasil.
Rousseff’s fall also means the coming to power of a Conservative government led by Temer, which is expected to reduce costly social programs promoted by the PT to try to revive the ailing Brazilian economy.
Temer, 75, is very unpopular in the streets; seen as a representative of the conservative elites of the country and the political establishment in Brasilia.
Unknown until recently in the international arena, Temer will participate in the G20 summit held in China on September 4-5, where he will advocate the liberal economic program of his “government of salvation”.
In addition to the institutional crisis, the world’s fifth largest country is mired for months in a severe recession. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the region’s largest economy is expected to shrink 3.3 percent this year.