Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment trial in Brazilian senate begins

BRASILIA, Brazil, Aug. 25 (UPI) — Brazil’s Federal Senate on Thursday opened an impeachment trial against suspended President Dilma Rousseff over accusations she broke budget laws.

Ricardo Lewandowski, president of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil, is overseeing Rousseff’s impeachment proceedings. He said Brazilian senators are responsible for carrying out a “serious constitutional assignment.”

Rousseff is accused of covering up budget deficits by taking out unauthorized loans from state banks and of spending money without congressional approval during the 2014 presidential campaign. Rousseff said her actions were common practice under previous administrations, accusing her political rivals of plotting a coup d’etat against her.

A final impeachment vote would need a two-thirds majority — 54 senators — to permanently remove Rousseff from the presidency. Rousseff, who has been suspended, will resume the presidency if the two-thirds majority is not reached.

AĆ©cio Neves, a Brazilian senator, said Rousseff’s impeachment will likely be approved, the Brazilian senate said in a statement.

“The great victim of all this is far from being the president of the republic,” Neves said. “The great victim of this [Workers’ Party] government … is the Brazilian population, as there are 12 million unemployed.”

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