Brazilian senators voted Thursday to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and begin an impeachment trial over allegations she hid federal budget troubles while campaigning for reelection two years ago.
The 55-22 vote came after a nearly 20-hour debate. The chamber required a simple majority of all senators present to approve the impeachment measure.
The lower house of Brazil’s Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, voted to impeach Rousseff last month. Rousseff, the leader of the center-left Workers Party, will now step down from her post as legislators prepare an impeachment trial against her that could last six months. Michel Temer, the vice president and and a member of the country's largest political party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, will assume office.
Rousseff had vowed to fight to “the last minute,” and twice asked the country’s Supreme Court to intervene and stop the proceedings, but the justices refused. Rousseff has called impeachment proceedings a “coup” to remove her from power. Rousseff, who is halfway through her second term, is the first female president of Brazil.
The vote was the latest development in a political saga that has captivated Latin America’s most populous nation this spring. Rousseff does not face corruption charges, but the lawmakers who led the effort to remove her she used accounting practices in 2014 to conceal a growing budget deficit. Rousseff has denied any wrongdoing, arguing that the practices her government employed are widely used. Rousseff’s opponents say the leader committed a “crime of responsibility,” an impeachable action under the Brazilian constitution.