Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ousted in impeachment vote

President Dilma Rousseff was stripped of her office Wednesday in the culmination of a political crisis that has left Latin America’s largest nation adrift, with an economy in deep recession and a public sharply divided over the country’s future.

Rousseff was impeached on arcane charges having to do with violating budget laws. But she was swept up in a tide of revulsion against Brazil’s political class as the once-flourishing economy contracted and political parties were tarred by a massive corruption scandal.

Wednesday’s 61-to-20 Senate vote closed out an extraordinary 13-year rule by the leftist Workers’ Party, which boasted of lifting tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty before the economy began to nosedive and its political fortunes soured.

Rousseff was replaced by her former vice president and coalition partner, Michel Temer, who has been running Brazil as interim president since she was suspended to face the impeachment trial in May. He belongs to the more conservative Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, and is trying to introduce austerity measures to right the economy.

But Temer is as unpopular as Rousseff, and whether he can muster the political support for such changes was unclear.

Still, some Brazilians felt a sense of relief that the country had at last reached a decision on an impeachment process it began eight months ago.

“The impeachment does not in any way resolve the political or economic crisis, but it gives us some hope, because for the first time in a long time, we will have a plan,” said Lucas de Aragão, director of Arko Advice, a political analysis firm in Brasilia.

Rousseff’s removal marked the latest setback for Latin America’s left, which had been on the ascendancy just a few years ago in Argentina, Venezuela and other countries but has increasingly struggled amid a continent-wide economic slowdown and a series of corruption scandals.

The leftist governments of Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia recalled their ambassadors from Brazil on Wednesday after the vote, denouncing “a coup” by its Senate. “They destroyed Dilma Rousseff. An excuse for abuse and betrayal,” Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa posted on Facebook.

Full article: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ousted in impeachment vote (Washington Post)

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