The Wall Street Journal: Brazil’s president ousted in historic impeachment vote

BRASÍLIA — Dilma Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla who defied a dictatorship but struggled as Brazil’s president amid a troubled economy and a fractious political climate, was removed from office Wednesday following an impeachment trial she condemned as a coup d’état.

Far from ending Brazil’s monthslong political crisis, Rousseff’s ouster leaves the country’s new leaders beset with a tattered economy and an angry, divided electorate.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Impeached

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Brazil’s senate voted 61-20 to oust suspended president Dilma Rousseff, in an impeachment trial over allegations she committed fiscal crimes while handling the federal budget. Photo: Reuters

Brazil’s Senate voted 61-20 to convict Rousseff on charges that she used illegal bookkeeping maneuvers to hide a growing budget deficit, deemed an impeachable crime in a nation with a history of hyperinflation and fiscal mismanagement. Two-thirds of Brazil’s 81 senators, or 54 votes, were needed to remove Rousseff from power.

The outcome was widely expected, though only partly because of the legal evidence marshaled against her. Well before the trial’s final phase opened last week, Rousseff’s administration had come under pressure over a brutal recession and a massive corruption scandal at the state oil company that splintered her political base and devastated her popular support. Her departure marks a humiliating end for Brazil’s first female president, and closes 13 years of rule by her leftist Workers’ Party, or PT.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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