Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff makes a statement at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.(AFP)
“What is at stake is respect for the ballot box, the sovereign will of the Brazilian people and the constitution,” she said in what could be her final address from the presidential palace, dressed in white and flanked by her ministers -- who will now lose their jobs as Temer brings in a business-friendly, reform-minded cabinet.
Rousseff then exited the building to shake hands and wave to the red-clad crowd gathered outside the modernist capital’s seat of power.
Hours earlier, a nearly 22-hour debate in the Senate closed with an overwhelming 55-22 vote against Rousseff, as pro-impeachment senators burst into applause and posed for selfies and congratulatory group photos.
Only a simple majority of the 81-member Senate had been required to suspend Rousseff for six months pending judgment on charges that she broke budget accounting laws.
A two-thirds majority vote will be needed at the end of the impeachment trial to force Rousseff, 68, from office altogether.
Temer, from the centre-right PMDB party, was to take over as interim president, drawing the curtain on more than a decade of dominance by the Workers’ Party.
He said his priority is to address Brazil’s worst recession in decades and end the paralysis gripping Congress during the battle over Rousseff.
“He will inherit a good part of Brazilians’ dissatisfaction with the kind of traditional politics he represents,” said Thiago Bottino, an analyst at the Getulio Vargas Foundation.
A onetime Marxist guerrilla tortured under the country’s military dictatorship in the 1970s, Rousseff was expected to go to her official residence where she will continue to live with her mother during the impeachment trial. She will retain her salary and bodyguards.
The leader of the Workers’ Party in the Senate, Humberto Costa, said his side would now work to convince senators to support Rousseff in the trial and turn the tide in her favour.
Due to host the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in less than three months, Brazil is struggling to stem economic disarray and handle the fallout from a corruption scandal reaching deep into the political and business elite.
The latest target of a sprawling probe into the graft was Senator Aecio Neves, who narrowly lost to Rousseff in the 2014 presidential elections -- and who was one of the senators voting to impeach Rousseff. The Supreme Court authorized a probe into his alleged bribe taking and money laundering overnight
First Published: May 12, 2016 23:06 IST