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Right pushes through suspension of Rousseff

PRESIDENT Dilma Rousseff was suspended from office for six months by Senate vote yesterday to put her on trial for corruption.

Senators, many of whom themselves face charges of financial corruption linked to the Petrobras state oil company, voted 55-22 to impeach the Workers Party (PT) president.

Her demise was followed by the government’s sacking, allowing Ms Rousseff’s disloyal Vice-President Michel Temer to swear in his own cabinet.
Mr Temer, who has been quietly assembling a new cabinet for weeks in expectation of taking over, will slash the number of cabinet posts to 22 as a cost-cutting measure.

He has pledged to cut public spending and privatise much of the state sector.

Senate PT leader Humberto Costa raised a photo of Ms Rousseff facing a military tribunal during the 1964-85 dictatorship when she took up arms for democracy.

He called the impeachment process the second unjust trial that Ms Rousseff has endured, characterising it as the traditional ruling classes reasserting their power and rolling back PT policies which favour the poor.

“The Brazilian elite, the ruling class, which keeps treating this county as if it was their hereditary dominion, does not appreciate democracy,” he declared.

The policies offered by Mr Temer contrast with those championed by governments led by Ms Rousseff and her mentor, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Over 13 years of PT government, the percentage of people living below the poverty line was reduced from 15 per cent in 2003 to 3.5 per cent in 2012 and 2.8 per cent in 2014.

More than 21 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty.

The number of state university students from the poorest 20 per cent of the population rose from 1.2 per cent in 2004 to 7.6 per cent by 2014.

Students’ racial profile also changed, with the percentage of people of colour in attendance hitting 45.5 per cent in 2014 in contrast to just 16.7 per cent in 2004.

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