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Rousseff’s Impeachment Met With Tears — Even from One of Her Impeachers

The Brazilian president was impeached after a 10-month battle to keep her role.

Supporters of Brazilian suspended President Dilma Rousseff follow the Senate's session as it votes on stripping her of the presidency in a traumatic impeachment trial, on a screen at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on August 31, 2016.
Rousseff, from the leftist Workers' Party, is accused of taking illegal state loans to patch budget holes in 2014, masking the country's problems as it slid into its deepest recession in decades. / AFP / EVARISTO SA        (Photo credit should read EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of Brazilian suspended President Dilma Rousseff follow the Senate's session as it votes on stripping her of the presidency in a traumatic impeachment trial, on a screen at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on August 31, 2016. Rousseff, from the leftist Workers' Party, is accused of taking illegal state loans to patch budget holes in 2014, masking the country's problems as it slid into its deepest recession in decades. / AFP / EVARISTO SA (Photo credit should read EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)

In a final attempt to defend herself before the Brazilian Senate this week, suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called her opponents “usurpers” and “coup-mongers” and begged lawmakers to maintain their faith she did not misuse her authority to help herself get re-elected in 2014.

It didn’t work.

On Wednesday, after a 10-month battle to clear herself of accusations that she meddled with the national budget to support popular social programs ahead of her 2014 reelection, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a member of the Brazilian Workers’ Party, was impeached by a 61-20 vote in the Brazilian senate’s upper house. She is still waiting on another vote that will determine whether she will be allowed to seek public office again within the next eight years.

The results of the vote were met with a range of emotions, including, in some cases, tears. “I’ve worn a mixture of red [for the Workers’ party] and black because today is a day of mourning,” Communist Party of Brazil Senator and Rousseff supporter Vanessa Grazziotin said ahead of the vote. “I’m going to cry.”

But even the very people who launched the impeachment bid against her seemed to offer some remorse for her ugly downfall, from a leader with 85 percent approval ratings to being removed prematurely from office and banned from attending the very Olympic games she helped to organize this summer.

“I apologize to the president, not for having done what I did, because I could not have done anything else, but because I know her situation is not easy,” Janaína Paschoal, one of the authors of her impeachment petition, reportedly choked out through tears. “I think she understands I did all this in consideration of her grandchildren.”

Rousseff’s vice president, Michel Temer, who has acted as president since Rousseff was removed from office earlier this year, will now complete her term. Temer himself led the charge against Rousseff — whose corruption charges pale in comparison to the jaw-dropping amounts of money some lawmakers have been accused of pocketing in a major scandal already rocking the nation.

Temer, who belongs to the center-right Brazilian Democratic Movement Party — is expected to be sworn in later Wednesday afternoon.

Photo credit: EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

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