Senado Federal / CC BY 2.0

An epic 20-hour debate in the Brazilian Senate concluded in a vote to suspend Dilma Rousseff from her presidential duties for six months as an impeachment trial is set to begin. The move is being seen by many as an elite-run “coup” that has left the country in a confused state of affairs.

From The Guardian:

… one politician described [Wednesday] as the “saddest day for Brazil’s young democracy” [as] senators voted 55 to 22 to suspend the Workers’ party leader, putting economic problems, political paralysis and alleged fiscal irregularities ahead of the 54 million votes that put her in office.

Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, will have to step aside while she is tried in the upper house for allegedly manipulating government accounts ahead of the previous election. Her judges will be senators, many of whom are accused of more serious crimes.

A final decision, which is likely in September or October, will require a two-thirds majority. Ominously for the president, this margin was exceeded in Thursday’s vote.

The impeachment is more political than legal. Similar fiscal irregularities went unpunished in previous administrations, but they are a pretext to remove a leader who has struggled to assert her authority. … “This is the saddest day in the history of our young democracy,” said Vanessa Grazziotin, a senator from the Communist Party of Brazil. “This isn’t a valid Constitutional process, it is a coup that goes against the opinion of the majority in the 2014 election.”

Read more.

— Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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