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Brazil Senate votes to impeach President Rousseff

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will be relinquishing power to her vice-president-turned-opponent, Michel Temer, as the upper house of the country’s parliament has voted to open an impeachment trial against her.

The Senate on Thursday voted 55 to 22 in favor of opening the trial.

A simple majority of the 81-member senate would have been enough to remove the president from her position for six months.

Rousseff should stand a final trial in the Senate within 180 days. The Senate will have to decide whether to disqualify her for presidency. If she is removed from office, Temer will retain the presidency until scheduled election in 2018.

Rousseff has condemned the impeachment drive as a coup, pledging to fight on during the trial.

Temer, a center-right politician from the PMDB party, is expected to announce a new government and take over as interim president of South America’s largest country, putting an end to the 13-year rule of the leftist Workers’ Party.

He has said that his priority is to tackle Brazil’s worst recession in decades.

A woman looks at a mural depicting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (L) and Vice-President Michel Temer, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 19, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Brazil has been the scene of a major political turmoil over the past months, with embattled Rousseff intensively fighting for her political survival against opposition congressmen, who seek her ouster over allegations that she illegally manipulated government budget accounts during her 2014 re-election battle.

Rousseff is also under fire over a graft scandal at state oil company Petrobras, where she was the manager before taking office as president in 2010.

However, Rousseff has denied the allegations against her as politically-motivated.

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