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Brazil's Rousseff bows out defiantly

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 01:36

Brazil's Dilma Rousseff says ''the respect of the polls, the sovereign will of the Brazilian people and the Constitution,'' are all at stake, following the Senate's vote to suspend her rule in order to put her on trial for allegedly breaking budget laws. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff bowed out defiantly on Thursday (May 12), suspended from office after the Senate voted to put her on trial for breaking budget laws in a historic decision brought on by a deep recession and a corruption scandal. Rousseff, in office since 2011, will be replaced by Vice President Michel Temer, for the duration of a Senate trial that could take up to six months. Rousseff, speaking shortly before she left Brasilia's Planalto presidential palace, said was notified of her suspension on Thursday morning. "The impeachment process was opened by the Federal Senate and it was determined to suspend my mandate for a maximum period of 180 days," she said on government television. The leftist leader, 68, was flanked by dozens of ministers who were leaving with her administration as she called the impeachment "fraudulent" and "a coup." "This condition, the condition of a president who was elected by 54 million people, to whom I say now, right now, at this divisive moment for Brazilian democracy and for our future as a nation - what is in play in the impeachment process isn't just my mandate, what is in play is the respect of the polls, the sovereign will of the Brazilian people and the Constitution," she said. Her suspension came hours after the Senate voted 55-22 to put her on trial, a decision that ended more than 13 years of rule by the left-wing Workers Party. The party rose from Brazil's labour movement and helped pull millions of people out of poverty before seeing many of its leaders tainted by corruption investigations. Rousseff, an economist and former member of a Marxist guerrilla group who was the country's first woman president, is unlikely to be acquitted in her trial. The size of the vote to try her showed the opposition already has the support it will need to reach a two-thirds majority required to convict Rousseff and remove her definitively from office. Rousseff left the presidential palace where a crowd of supporters had gathered to greet here as they vowed to continue to fight for her to regain power. "You all help lessen the sadness. And here, with you, there is warmth and an energy and kindness you all send me. This here is a happy moment," Rousseff told the crowd. As suspended head of state, Rousseff can continue to live in her official residence, have a staff and use an Air Force plane. She has denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly called the impeachment process a coup, and on Thursday vowed to keep fighting. Rousseff dismissed her cabinet, including the sports minister, who is in final preparations for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August, Brazil's Official Gazette showed. The central bank governor, who has ministerial rank, was not included in the decree.

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Brazil's Rousseff bows out defiantly

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 01:36