'Worst Crisis': Brazil Senate Poised to Decide Rousseff's Fate

Impeachment proceedings could result in Dilma Rousseff's suspension and trial
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2016 10:28 AM CDT
'Worst Crisis:' Brazil Senate Poised to Decide Rousseff's Fate
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff waves to the crowd during the opening of the National Conference of Women in Brasilia, Brazil, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Last month, Brazil's Congress voted to start impeachment proceedings against its beleaguered president, Dilma Rousseff. It's now come down to the country's Senate, which will decide Wednesday if she'll be suspended and put on trial in what the New York Times calls a "watershed" vote in a nation beset by a terrible economy and rampant corruption (she says it would be a "coup," as she hasn't been charged yet with a crime). A simple majority of the 81 senators is all that's needed to suspend her, per the AP, leading the way for VP Michel Temer to take over for now. The Senate would then have 180 days to hold a trial and cast a decision on whether to make her temporary ouster permanent, in which case Temer would stay in office until her term comes to a close at the end of 2018. And CNN notes it doesn't look good for Rousseff: Per a survey published in a Brazilian newspaper, of those 81 senators, 50 have said they'd be in favor of impeachment.

"Plainly said, this is the worst crisis in our history, with its combination of economic calamity, discredited politics and the violation of the lowest ethical standards," a Brazilian historian told journalists earlier in May, per the Times. The country is also struggling with the Zika virus and preparation for this summer's OIympic Games in Rio. Rousseff herself is accused of covering up budget deficits by playing a sort of shell game with money from public banks. But despite the dire straits, not everyone's celebrating her possible removal, with some fearing impeachment would be "undemocratic." Temer's ratings are also in the toilet, with just 2% of citizens in a recent poll saying they'd pick him as president. Not that Rousseff seems ready to give up. "I am going to fight with all my strength, using all the means at my disposal," she said Tuesday, per CNN. If she is indeed ousted, she'd be the second of Brazil's presidents to suffer that fate since the country broke away in 1985 from its 20-year military dictatorship, the BBC notes. (More Brazil stories.)

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