Brazil’s first female president is out of a job, but not barred from the ballot if she wants to run again.
The South American country’s Senate voted 61-20 Wednesday to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office, finding her guilty of breaking budgetary laws in an impeachment trial.
Michel Temer, Rousseff’s former vice president who’s been serving as interim president since her suspension in May, will assume the office of president and serve out the remainder of her term. He was scheduled to be sworn in later Wednesday.
Temer, 75, inherits a tattered economy, along with the keys to the presidential palace in Brasilia.
A general election is scheduled for 2018.
Wednesday’s vote marks the culmination of a contentious impeachment process that’s dragged on for months. It’s a political crisis that ordinary Brazilians could do well without as the country, which just hosted the Summer Olympics in Rio, is trying to pull itself out of recession.
The Senate’s decision is a major blow for Rousseff, but it might not mark the end of her political career.
While the vote to oust her from office was decisive, a motion to bar her from holding any public office for the next eight years failed to get enough support to pass.
Rousseff, 68, a former Marxist guerrilla, insisted earlier this week that she had committed no crime and said she was proud that she’d been “faithful to my commitment to the nation.”
In May, Rousseff called the impeachment proceedings an attempt at a power grab by her rivals. She said her government has long been the target of political sabotage.
“When Brazil or when a president is impeached for a crime that they have not committed, the name we have for this in democracy — it’s not an impeachment, it is a coup,” she said after the Senate voted to launch the proceedings.
The heir-apparent to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Rousseff was re-elected by a narrow margin in 2014, but a recession and a cross-party corruption scandal put an end to any political goodwill she might have earned, eventually leading to her ouster.