**Update: Brazil’s senate votes 61-20 to impeach its first female president Dilma Rousseff. Another vote of 42 in favor, 36 against, gives Rousseff the green light to run for office again.
Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, is expected to be impeached and banned from public office for eight years by the country’s Senate today.
Rousseff, of the center-left Workers’ Party, is accused of breaking budget laws to disguise public accounts before her re-election in 2014.
Lawmakers were set to vote after a five-day hearing, in which half a dozen witnesses and more than 60 senators spoke, finishing at around 3:30 this morning.
Ricardo Lewandowski, president of the Supreme Court, will ask senators to answer by electronic panel the question: “Did the accused, the President of the Republic, Dilma Vana Rousseff, commit the crimes of responsibility corresponding to borrowing from a financial institution controlled by the Union and the opening credits without authorization from Congress, of which she is accused and should be condemned to the loss of her office, being therefore disqualified from the exercise of any public office for a period eight years?”
Rousseff testified in her own defense on Monday in an uncompromising speech that branded the plot to oust her a “parliamentary coup”, warning that “democracy is condemned along with me.”
The president, who was re-elected two years ago with 54 million votes, and her supporters, claimed the charges against her were a pretext devised by her political opponents, many of whom have been implicated in the wide-reaching anti-corruption probe, Lava Jato (“Car Wash”).
Yesterday, there were emotional scenes in the Senate as her defense lawyer and former Attorney General, José Eduardo Cardozo, and lawyer for the accusation, Janaína Paschoal, both welled up after speaking.
Fatima Bezerra, Workers’ Party senator for Rio Grande do Norte and a friend of Rousseff’s, said: “I think it’s going to go down as one of the most grievous, shameful moments in the history of democracy in our country because the most revolting thing in this process of impeachment is the farcical and fraudulent features that it has.”
She warned that the result would leave Brazil “fractured.”
“I don’t see a tranquil future for Brazil,” she added. “It’s difficult to live with a coup-mongering government, a government that doesn’t have popular legitimacy. We will not recognize in any way the legitimacy of this government.”
There have already been scenes of unrest ahead of the vote in São Paulo where police used tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs against an estimated 5,000 protesters on Monday night.
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