Senators in Brazil have voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. The decision to remove Rousseff from presidential office on Wednesday (31 August) was backed by 61 senators in the upper house while 20 voted against, surpassing the two-thirds majority required to oust her.
The decision draws the curtain on 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule in Brazil. Rousseff is accused of breaking budget laws and dressing up the deteriorating state of her administration's finances. She becomes the first president in Brazil's history to be removed from power via impeachment.
Michel Temer from the centre-right PMDB party will serve out the remaining two years and four months of Rousseff's term. The 75-year-old is expected to be sworn in later today.
Rousseff was suspended in May and denounced the impeachment process as a "coup". She repeated the claim again on Monday (29 August) as she testified in her own defence.
"When Brazil or when a president is impeached for a crime that they have not committed, the name we have for this in democracy - it's not an impeachment, it is a coup," Rousseff said after the senate voted to begin proceedings.
She insisted that her government was the victim of "nonstop sabotage" and claimed that she was acting in line with her predecessors. "I have made mistakes, but I have not committed any crimes. I am being judged unjustly, because I have followed the law to the letter," CNN quoted Rousseff as saying in May.
The former Marxist guerilla came to power in 2010, but sharp economic decline in the Latin American nation saw her support among the public and in congress dwindle.
Senator Ronaldo Caiado hailed the decision. "Society will be able to breathe easily, even knowing the economic difficulties, the level of unemployment," he was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).