Brazilian impeachment trial begins

By: Aaron Robinson ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy | Pushed back until after the Olympic Games, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (pictured above) appeared in the Senate for trial.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was dislodged, but not yet removed, from office after an impeachment trial was called as a result of allegations regarding the breaking of budget rules. Rousseff is accused of taking illegal state loans in order to repair holes in the country’s budget.

The charge was brought to the attention of Brazil’s Senate by political rivals in the far-right party, which President Rousseff called a “coup d’état” against the left-winged Worker’s Party. Her main political rival is the former Speaker of the House, Eduardo Cunha, who is also the head of the agenda pushing for impeachment.

Although, there has been a drop in Rousseff ’s overall approval rating, many Brazilians are backing her through this process.

Rousseff spoke in her own defense regarding the trial on Aug. 29. “[I have] come to look right in the eyes of [the supreme court justices] and say I have nothing to hide…I did not commit the crimes you accuse me of.”

Rousseff is currently nearing the end of the impeachment process, which teeters on the decisions of 81 senators. Only 54 need to vote against her for the impeachment to be finalized.

The impeachment process in Brazil is similar to that in America where the decisions are voted upon by the Senate and House, and each vote has an opportunity to enact different levels of consequences. The Senate will vote after the lower House of Congress votes for the proceeding of the impeachment trial.

The first session occurred in April, and 367 out of 513 lawmakers voted in favor, easily reaching the two-thirds vote mandatory for the matter to be passed to the Senate.

The vote took place in the Senate during May, in which 55 senators voted in favor of the impeachment process and 22 in opposition. Another vote was held in the Senate in August, and it was decided by 59 to 21 votes that there was enough evidence against Rousseff to proceed to the trial phase.

If the vote goes through the trial phase, Rousseff will be removed from office permanently, and her vice president, Michel Temer, will assume the office and all presidential powers.