Hour of Shame: Brazil’s Senate votes to impeach Roussef


Dilma Rousseff

In an overwhelming vote, Brazil’s Senate voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff on May 12. The Senate voted 55-22 in favour of impeaching Ms Rousseff.  She is facing allegations for corruption and a decaying economy. Latin America’s most powerful country has been facing major economic woes in recent times and has also been gearing up to host the Olympics in the next few months.

The trial should be conducted within 180 days by the Senate and a decision needs to be taken on whether Ms Rousseff should be permanently removed from office. The impeachment of Ms Rousseff ends 13 years of rule by the Workers’ Party.  The government under the Workers’ Party rule  has been credited with lifting millions out of poverty.  However, it has also been criticised for being at the wheel when billions were siphoned from the state oil company Petrobras.

Brazil’s economy is expected to contract nearly 4 per cent after an equally dismal 2015.  The rates of inflation and unemployment are hovering around 10 per cent. This has exposed the  sharp decline since the South American giant enjoyed stellar growth for more than a decade.

The Senate’s decision comes a month after the lower house voted 367-137 in favour of impeachment. A majority of Brazilians  have been supportive of impeaching Ms Rousseff. However, the public has been wary about those in the line of succession to take her place.

Road ahead for Brazil

The Senate will decide after 180 days on whether Ms Rousseff can continue as President. The multibillion dollar scam in Petrobras has resulted in many leading politicians and industrialists figuring in the list of beneficiaries. While no personal involvement of Ms Rousseff has been proven in the case, the involvement of some of the senior members in her cabinet had made it difficult for her.

Vice President Michel Temer will take over as the country’s interim President. Promising to introduce economic reforms in the country, Mr Temer has said that he will cut spending and privatise many sectors that are controlled by the state. This is more against the approach that was taken by the Workers Party which spent a lot on social welfare to lift people out of poverty and wasn’t a preferred party by the business community.

The suspension of Ms Rousseff is expected to lead to fuel political instability in the country, with  speculation swirling about a possible coup by the military.