Rousseff loses crucial impeachment vote

Apr 17, 2016, 11:49 PM EDT
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
(Source: World Economic Forum/flickr)

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff lost a crucial impeachment vote in the lower house of Congress on Sunday and appeared almost certain to be forced from office in a move that would end 13 years of leftist Workers' Party rule.

Reuters reports:

As thousands of pro- and anti-impeachment protesters demonstrated outside Congress, the opposition comfortably surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to send Rousseff for trial in the Senate on charges of manipulating budget accounts. The floor of the lower house was a sea of Brazilian flags and pumping fists as dozens of lawmakers carried the deputy who cast the decisive 342nd vote in their arms. In Brazil's largest cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, fireworks lit up the night sky and cars honked their horns in celebration after the vote. If the Senate now votes by a simple majority to proceed with the impeachment as expected in early May, Rousseff would be suspended from her post and be replaced by Vice President Michel Temer as acting president pending her trial. Temer would serve out Rousseff's term until 2018 if she is found guilty.

CNN writes:

The impeachment motion will next go to the country's Senate. If a majority approves it there, Rousseff will have to step down for 180 days to defend herself in an impeachment trial. Rep. Bruno Araujo was triumphant as he cast the symbolic 342nd vote against Rousseff Sunday night, passing the two-thirds mark and securing the majority needed to move forward. "It's an honor, what an honor that destiny has reserved for me. ... From my voice will come the scream of hope for millions of Brazilians," he said. If the motion is approved, Rousseff could be suspended as early as May. That would be about three months before the Summer Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro, an event that was supposed to showcase Brazil as a rising power on the global stage. Sunday's vote came after weeks of raucous debates inside Brazil's Congress and rival protests outside.