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Brazil's senate votes to oust Rousseff, Temer sworn in

Suspended President Dilma Rousseff speaks on the Senate floor during her impeachment trial. Photograph: (Getty)

Bras?lia - Federal District, Brazil Aug 31, 2016, 05.05 PM (IST)

Brazil's Senate voted today to remove suspended President Dilma Rousseff for breaking budget laws, putting an end to 13 years of leftist rule over Latin America's biggest country and ending an impeachment process that has paralysed politics for nine months.

Former vice president, Michel Temer, who has served as interim president since the Senate trial began, was sworn in as Brazil's president at 19:00 GMT to serve the remainder of her term to the end of 2018.

Senators voted 61-20 to convict Rousseff for illegally using money from state banks to boost public spending. The senate will hold a separate vote on whether to bar her from public office for eight years after she is removed, the magistrate overseeing her trial ruled.  

In an emotional speech on Monday, Brazil's first woman president Rousseff told the Senate she was innocent and said that abuse of the impeachment process put Brazil's democracy, restored in 1985 after a two-decades-long military dictatorship, at risk.

Recalling how she was tortured and imprisoned in the 1970s for belonging to a leftist guerrilla group, Rousseff urged senators to "vote against impeachment, vote for democracy... Do not accept a coup."

Her opponents, however, hailed the chance to turn the page on a drawn-out political crisis, the country's worst recession in generations and a sweeping corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras.

Rousseff's popularity fell into single figures in polls this year due to the Petrobras graft investigation and the recession that many Brazilians blame on her government's interventionist policies.

After Rouseff was suspended in May, Temer immediately named a new government with the aim of shifting the economy to the right and vowed to boost a shrinking economy and implement austerity measures to plug a record budget deficit which cost Brazil its investment-grade credit rating last year.  

He is popular with investors, but it remains uncertain whether he will have voters' support to push through the painful austerity reforms he promises. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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