In a marathon of 20-hour session that lasted until the early hours of the morning Wednesday, Brazil’s Senate voted to move forward with the impeachment of leftist President Dilma Rousseff.
With a vote of 59 to 21, the senators overwhelmingly chose to indict Roussef for allegedly manipulating government accounts. The trial will be held by the end of the month — the week after the end of the Olympics.
A two-thirds vote — just 54 senators — is needed to impeach Rousseff.
[Brazil impeachment process on hold over voting questions]
Rousseff faces impeachment on charges that she used improper loans from government banks to fund popular social programs. Rousseff’s opponents said she deceived Congress and the Brazilian public by concealing budget gaps brought on by her poor management of the economy.
Rousseff insists that she did nothing wrong and that the budgetary tactics have been a standard practice of Brazilian presidents.
Her supporters have described the effort to have her removed as a right-wing conspiracy to stymie her populist policies aimed at helping the country’s underprivileged.
Brazil’s lower house of parliament voted April 17 to proceed with an impeachment trial, amid record low approval ratings for Rousseff, the worst economic slump since the 1930s, and a spreading Zika epidemic.
Roussef was suspended in May and succeeded by her former running mate, conservative Michel Temer, who has urged the impeachment process to move forward to break the country’s political deadlock.
Roussef has accused him of being behind the move to unseat her.