Dilma Rousseff, 68,removed as Brazil’s President in Impeachment Vote
The Senate votes 61 to 20 to convict Ms. Rousseff on charges of manipulating federal budget in an effort to conceal nation’s mounting economic problems
Vice President Michel Temer launches successful power grab, ending 13 years rule by the left leaning Workers’ Party
Temer’s centrist Democratic Movement Party, benefited as much as Rousseff’s Workers’ Party from Brazil’s rampant graft and illicit campaign financing
Rousseff was suspended in May to face trial
Brazil’s 81-member Senate, Wednesday impeached Dilma Rousseff, the country’s first female president, for the rest of her term , which ends mid to late 2018.
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This was the the culmination of a protacted power face-off between a leader accused of arrogance and procedural misdemeanours by her opponents and protagonists, many of whom are deeply emeshed in the current graft and campaign finance scandals in Brazil. Ironically Ms Roussef harself has never been accused of enriching herself ilegally.
The power struggle and impeachment process which commenced with Rousseff’s suspendin May to face trial, has consumed the nation for months and toppled one of the hemisphere’s most powerful political parties, the left leaning Worker’s Party.
President Dilma Rousseff defends, Monday herself before the Senate, during her impeachment trail
By a majority of 61 to 20, the Senate voted to convict Ms. Rousseff on charges of manipulating the federal budget in an effort to conceal the nation’s mounting economic problems. The ouster itself is seen as less of a judgment of guilt on any charge, It was rather a verdict on her highhanded leadership style and the price of overseeing the slipping fortunes of Latin America’s largest country.
Brazil’s sweeping public sector corruption scandals, the worst economic crisis in decades and the government’s tone-deaf responses to the souring national mood opened Ms. Rousseff to withering scorn, leaving her with little support to fend off a power grab by her political rivals.
“She lacked it all,” said Mentor Muniz Neto, a writer from São Paulo who described Ms. Rousseff’s final ouster as a “death foretold,” asserting that she lacked charisma, competence and humility. “We deserved better.”
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To her many critics, the impeachment was a fitting fall for an arrogant leader at the helm of a political movement that had lost its way.
Rousseff found herself increasingly isolated in recent months, with many in her party quietly withdrawing their support. But some in the party defended Ms. Rousseff as she made her last-ditch effort before the Senate this week.
“You veered from the narrative when you were elected president of the republic as a woman, from the left, a former militant against the dictatorship, without a husband to pose by your side in the photographs,” said Regina Sousa, a Workers’ Party senator from Piauí in northeast Brazil.
Friends now protagonists. Former Vice President and Acting Preisident, Michel Temer steps in. Opponents have accused he and his supporters of stage managing the ‘coup’
You never fit in the cute little dress designed by the conservative elite of this country,” Ms. Sousa added.
Heated tempers marked the trial in the Senate. Crying as she spoke, Janaína Paschoal, the law professor who was an author of the impeachment request, said she had been inspired by God and that she was seeking impeachment for the good of Ms. Rousseff’s grandchildren.
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Ms. Rousseff’s lawyer, José Eduardo Cardozo, said he was stunned that her opponents had dragged Ms. Rousseff’s family into the acerbic debate, pointing out that Ms. Rousseff was never accused of embezzling public funds to benefit her family.
“If you want to condemn her, go ahead, but don’t mock the honor of a dignified woman,” said Mr. Cardozo, also crying as he spoke. Ms. Rousseff and her supporters call her ouster a coup that undermines Brazil’s young democracy. Thirteen straight years of governing by the leftist Workers’ Party, an era during which Brazil’s economy boomed, lifting millions into the middle class and raising the country’s profile on the global stage, scince the days of former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, came to a whimpering halt, wednesday.
Some opinions is that her removal may not restore public confidence in Brazil’s leaders, or diminish the corruption that pervades the country’s politics. On the contrary, many Brazilians believe, it transfers power from one scandal-plagued party to another.
Michel Temer, 75, the interim president who served as Ms. Rousseff’s vice president before breaking with her this year, is now expected to remain in office until the end of the current term in 2018.
The centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, the party of the new president – Paul Temer, has been a crucial coalition partner in the Workers’ Party’s government for more than a decade. It is also deeply enmeshed in the colossal web of ggovernment and public sector graft schemes under investigation.It arguably benefited as much as the Workers’ Party from huge bribes and illicit campaign financing.
Since becoming interim president in May, Mr. Temer has had approval
ratings nearly as dismal as Ms. Rousseff’s. Shifting the government to the right, he named a cabinet without any female or Afro-Brazilian ministers, outraging many in a country where nearly 51 percent of people define themselves as black or mixed race, according to the 2010 census.
Several of the men named by Mr. Temer have already resigned under the cloud of scandal, including his anti-corruption minister and his planning minister, amid claims that they were trying to stymie investigations into the bribery engulfing the national oil company, Petrobras.
Temer himself was recently convicted on charges of violating campaign finance limits, a conviction that could make him ineligible to run for office for eight years. Beyond that, a construction executive has testified that Mr. Temer was the beneficiary of a $300,000 bribe, an assertion Mr. Temer disputes.
The impeachment effort has divided the nation and stirred passions on both sides. Toussef becomes the second of the four Brazilian presidents elected since Brazil’s democracy was re-established in the 1980s, to resign due to the impeachment process, after Fernando Collor de Mello, in 1992
“It’s painfully obvious that Temer is a slap in the face to Brazilian democracy,” said Creuza Maria Oliveira, the president of the National Federation of Domestic Workers, which represents millions of maids who benefited from the strengthening of labor laws by Ms. Rousseff.
“Dilma is a champion of the poor,” said Ms. Oliveira, who was among the supporters of Ms. Rousseff who accompanied her to the Senate this week. “Temer is a champion of his own political class, which he wants to shield from justice.”
Some prominent business and political figures in Brazil counter that Mr. Temer, a former speaker in the lower house, has the political skills needed to muster support in a fractious, discredited Congress for ambitious measures aimed at increasing investment in the economy and easing a major pension crisis.
Ballots are counted. Final scores was 61 – 20
The business class see it differently. ‘Mr. Temer’s administration has “all the conditions needed to embark on a new route,”’ Philipp Schiemer, the head of Mercedes-Benz’s operations in Brazil, told reporters in recent days. “We need to decide if we want a Brazil like Venezuela or a Brazil inserted in the new world.”
Still others, including Ms. Rousseff, contend that the ease with which the political elite shunted aside the president will bring more divisiveness and political tumult in Brazil.
“This is serious because other presidents of the republic will have to deal with this,” Ms. Rousseff said this week in her testimony in the Senate, comparing her ouster to the coups toppling Brazilian leaders throughout much of the 20th century. “If that isn’t political instability, then I don’t know what is.”
Rousseff’s predecessor, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, watching Monday’s impeachment hearings unfold
Unlike many of the pro-impeachment politician, Ms. Rousseff, has not been accused of illegally enriching herself. Instead, her trial revolved around a contentious legal question of whether she committed an impeachable offense by employing budgetary tricks to conceal yawning deficits.
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Ms. Rousseff repeatedly insisted that she did nothing illegal, pointing out that her p=edecessors also manipulated the federal budget. Opponents argue that the scale of her administration’s transfers of funds between giant public banks, to the tune of about $11 billion, seriously eroded Brazil’s economic credibility and helped her get re-elected unfairly in 2014.
She expressed defiance throughout her trial, insisting that Brazil’s economic crisis was largely the result of shifts in the global economy that cut commodities prices.
A bureaucrat from Brazil’s energy industry thrust into the limelight , Ms. Rousseff had not held elected office until her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, anointed her as his heir after other leaders in the Workers’ Party were tainted by a vote-buying scandal.