Brazil Senate Suspends President

Dilma Rousseff loses impeachment vote, faces a 6-month trial
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 12, 2016 5:40 AM CDT
Brazil Senate Suspends President
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff attends the opening of the National Conference of Women, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, May 10.   (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Will she resign? That's about the only suspense left in Brazil on Thursday after the Senate voted to proceed with an impeachment trial against President Dilma Rousseff. The move means that Rousseff will be suspended from office while a trial that could last six months gets under way, reports the AP. But given the lopsided vote to proceed with the trial, 55-22, Rousseff stands little chance of prevailing in the end, reports the New York Times. She's accused of improperly borrowing from state banks—not to enrich herself personally, but to cover up budget shortfalls to improve her re-election prospects in about two years.

“Given the polarization in Brazil, if she sticks to her guns and fights this all the way to the end, it’s going to prolong the agony for the country,” says a professor of international management at the University of Pennsylvania. "The best thing she could do for her country is to bite the bullet and step aside." Rousseff will be replaced as president in the interim by Vice President Michel Temer. Stories and headlines suggest that Rousseff already has been "impeached" because of Thursday's vote, but there's disagreement about that in legal circles, notes the Times. “In Brazil, the term impeachment is used only after a conviction is made in the trial,” says a law professor in Rio de Janeiro. (More Brazil stories.)

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