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Brazil Senate Set to Vote in Rousseff Impeachment Trial

  • VOA News

Police fire tear gas against supporters of Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff during a rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016.

Police fire tear gas against supporters of Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff during a rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016.

Lawyers at the impeachment trial of suspended Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff wrapped up their final arguments early Wednesday morning, and are expected to take a short break before the Senate votes on whether to remove her from office.

Rousseff is alleged to have illegally used money from state banks to cover deficits in the federal budget in an effort to boost her popularity heading into the 2014 presidential election.

Rousseff, the country's first female president, denied any wrongdoing in the matter and accused her political opponents of using the trial as a way to overthrow her and undermine Brazil's democracy.

"I know I will be judged, but my conscience is clear," she said during remarks to senators Monday. "I did not commit a crime."

Lawyers from the pro-impeachment side, though argued that Rousseff's alleged corruption directly contributed to the economic issues Brazil has experienced over the past several years.

"The world needs to know that we are not just voting about accounting issues," said Janaina Paschoal, the author of the impeachment request against Rousseff.

"Impeachment is a constitutional remedy that we need to resort to when the situation gets particularly serious, and that is what has happened."

Of the 81 senators, 54 must vote in favor of her impeachment for it to become permanent. Local media reports show that at least 52 senators have said they will vote to impeach Rousseff, while another 18 have said they will oppose the impeachment and another 11 are undecided.

If removed, Rousseff will be replaced by her vice president, Michel Temer.

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