01 September, 2016
Brazil's new president has appealed for national unity after lawmakers voted to remove Dilma Rousseff from the office Wednesday.
In a speech to the nation, President Michel Temer said the vote in the Senate was open and democratic. He called it a moment of hope to reclaim confidence in Brazil. And he urged Brazilians to put the national interest above group interests.
The Senate impeachment and conviction of Rousseff ends 13 years of rule by the Workers Party of Rousseff and former president Louis Ignacio Lula da Silva.
The Senate voted 61 to 20 to end the presidency of Brazil's first female leader. She was found guilty of violating budgetary laws in an effort to improve her chances of re-election in 2014.
Rousseff faced questions about the case for 14 hours on Monday.
Her removal raises questions about the future of social programs, which are said to have lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty.
After the vote, Rousseff called her removal an attempt to seize power and restated that she was innocent of the charges. In a statement, she said, "They (Senators) decided to interrupt the mandate of a president who had committed no crime. They have convicted an innocent person and carried out a parliamentary coup."
Mark Jones is a Latin American expert at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He told VOA that Brazil is deeply divided and faces difficult economic problems.
Jones called Temer, who had been Rousseff's vice president, a deal-maker who is willing to make compromises to get things done.
Temer's Democratic Movement Party had ruled in a coalition with Rousseff's Workers Party until now.
Jones called the charges against Rousseff comparatively minor. He said they did not involve personal enrichment or illegal payments. He added that Rousseff faced public anger over suspected corruption involving her party.
He added that had Brazil's economy been growing instead of shrinking Rousseff would likely still be in office.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Victor Beattie reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
confidence – n. a feeling that a person can do something well or that success is possible
interrupt – v. to cause some process to be stopped for a period of time
mandate – n. the power to act that voters give to their elected leaders
coup – n. an attempt by a small group to take over a government or organization
conviction – n. the act of finding that a person is guilty of a crime