Brazil Senate votes to open impeachment trial against Rousseff
Brazil Senate votes to open impeachment trial against Rousseff

[JURIST] The Brazil Senate [official website] officially indicted [press release, in Portuguese] President Dilma Rousseff on Wednesday, marking the beginning of an impeachment trial against the embattled president. The Senate, which held a 16-hour session while deliberating on how to proceed, voted 59-21 against the suspended president—five more votes than were required to begin the impeachment proceedings. The vote comes less than a week after a Brazilian Senate committee decided to advance [JURIST report] Rousseff’s case to the full Senate. Rousseff is alleged to have manipulated government budget accounts and spent without congressional approval. Rousseff and her supporters believe the most recent development in Rousseff’s impeachment only further evidences a political witch-hunt by the elite-class against Rousseff, a strong proponent of social welfare projects.

Brazil’s political establishment has been in turmoil as many powerful politicians have been recently brought to the center of embarrassing corruption investigations. In May Brazil’s Supreme Court suspended [JURIST report] lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha after being suspected of obstructing investigations into his allegedly corrupt activities. That same month local Brazilian media reported [JURIST report] that the country’s top prosecutors had requested an investigation into Rousseff over alleged connected to the Petrobras corruption scandal. In April the Brazil Supreme Court agreed to hear [JURIST report] a corruption case against former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, which he appealed to the UN Human Rights Committee, arguing his investigation has been riddled with impartiality and abuse of power [JURIST report] by the presiding judge. Although there is widespread opposition against Rousseff, her supporters who have rallied [JURIST report] in her support in the past could spell future turmoil in the country.