Brazilian President Rousseff was suspended after the country’s Senate voted to put her on trial over allegedly breaking budget laws.
The vote, after a marathon Senate session running through the night, resulted in 55 of 77 senators present voting in favour of putting President Rousseff on trial. While only a majority was needed to suspend the President, these numbers if duplicated later would be enough to remove her from office at the end of the trial, when a two-thirds vote would be needed.
President Rousseff now faces charges of hiding the extent of the public deficit in the lead up to the 2014 general election, where she was re-elected. She has denied all charges, calling the impeachment a “coup”. The trial is to be heard by the Senate, and can last up to six months.
Michel Temer, currently serving as Vice President, is to serve as President while the trial is heard.
President Rousseff was previously the Chief of Staff of the President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from 2005 to 2010.
The daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant, Rousseff was raised in an upper middle class household in Belo Horizonte. She became a socialist during her youth, and following the 1964 coup d’état joined various left-wing and Marxist urban guerrilla groups that fought against the military dictatorship. Rousseff was eventually captured, tortured and condemned to jail between 1970 and 1972.
After her release, Rousseff rebuilt her life in Porto Alegre with Carlos Araújo, who would be her husband for 30 years. Both helped found the Democratic Labour Party in Rio Grande do Sul, participating in several of the party’s electoral campaigns. She became the Secretary of the Treasury of the City of Porto Alegre in the Alceu Collares Administration, and later the Secretary of Energy of the State of Rio Grande do Sul under both the Collares and Olívio Dutra Administrations.
In 2000, after an internal dispute in the Dutra cabinet, she left the PDT and joined the Workers’ Party (PT).