Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Rousseff Ousted from Brazilian Presidency, Temer Takes Over (Updated)
By a 61-20 vote, the Brazilian Senate voted Wednesday afternoon to oust Dilma Rousseff as the country's president over charges of illegally manipulating government accounts.
Rousseff, who has been suspended since May as part of the impeachment process, also awaits a separate vote by the Senate to further suspend her from public office.
Update (1:15 pm): The Senate was unable to obtain the two-thirds approval needed to suspend Rousseff from public office for eight years.
She had intervened on the Senate floor during a marathon session on Monday and compared the treatment of her detractors to the torture she underwent during the military regime of the 1970s. She also implied that former running mate turned adversary and then-acting leader Michel Temer was an "usurper" plotting with her opponents to enact a "coup" against her.
Update (2:20 pm): President Rafael Correa tweeted his ire over the removal of Rousseff and announced the recall of his country's ambassador to Brazil.
Ecuador thus becomes the second Latin American state to recall their ambassador to Brazil after Bolivian Evo Morales tweeted he would do the same.
Update (3:45 pm): And Venezuela makes three.
[More updates below the page break]
Rousseff has faced numerous major obstacles since she was reelected by a narrow margin in October 2014. Brazil's economic boom had reversed and entered a deep recession, while the "Lava Jato" corruption probe ensnared the political elite. As a result, critics have accused her of mismanaging the economy and doing little to prevent corruption under her government.
Rousseff's popularity plunged to roughly 10% in a poll conducted in late June but now interim President Temer has not fared much better. For example, Temer was soundly booed during his brief appearance at the opening ceremonies of the Rio Games earlier this month. Now he has a little more than two years to attempt to quell political tensions exacerbated by the proceedings against Rousseff, and flip a Brazilian economy expected to continue weakened at least for the rest of this year.
Update (3:40 pm): Temer will be inaugurated as Rousseff's successor later this afternoon.
He is not expected to speak during the inauguration ceremony but will likely address the Brazilian people tonight and call for unity by "placing the national interests ahead of the interests of groups."
Update (5:40 pm): Temer was sworn-in and promised to commence a "new era" to attempt to improve Brazil's economy and calm political tensions.
Following her ouster, Rousseff criticized the "parliamentary coup" that targeted her and vowed that she would "be back."
Meanwhile, the Ibovespa stock index fell by just over 1% on Wednesday as traders reportedly anticipated the ouster of Rousseff. Additionally, the central bank enacted a reverse currency swap that helped the real strengthen against the U.S. dollar.
Update (10:00 pm): In a televised address, Temer called for national unity and pledged to tackle Brazili's economic woes.
"It is the time for hope and confidence again in Brazil. Uncertainty has come to an end," declared the new leader who was inaugurated some three hours after the Senate ousted Rousseff.
One specific policy change mentioned in his five-minute speech was a reform to the pension system "that protects the elderly without punishing the young."
Update (1 September): Rousseff's legal team has sought to annul the Senate's move to oust her and called for a retrial. The odds of that happening, however, are very slim.
Online Sources (English) - The Latin Americanist, The Guardian, BBC News, Yahoo News
Online Sources (Spanish) - El Telegrafo, infobae.com
Online Sources (Portuguese) - EBC, Globo, Folha.com, Estadao,
Video Source - Associated Press