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02 September, 2016

Brazilian coup completed

In a last ditch attempt to block her removal from office, Brazil’s ousted President Dilma Rousseff appealed to the Supreme Court Thursday to scrap the Senate’s decision impeach her, a move widely criticized as a parliamentary coup, and instead convene a new Senate trial.

The appeal, filed by Rousseff’s defense team led by her Attorney Eduardo Cardoza, argues that the impeachment was unconstitutional on the grounds that the budgetary crimes she is accused of is not an impeachable offense according to Brazilian law and that the prosecution violated her right to due process by changing their case in the course of the trial.

The injunction also calls on the Supreme Court to return de facto President Michel Temer—installed in office for the remainder of Rousseff’s term until the 2018 election—to an “interim” status until the Senate re-votes on the question.

The Senate voted 61-20 Wednesday to impeach Rousseff over accusations that she broke budgetary rules in the leadup to her 2014 re-election using a common accounting trick to make the government’s finances look better. At the last minute, the vote on whether to strip Rousseff of her political rights was separated from the impeachment ballot and was voted down, meaning she is still able to hold public office.

The injunction also calls on the court to change the 1950 budget law that Rousseff’s accusers used to justify her impeachment on the basis that it does not correspond with the country’s 1988 Constitution.

It is unlikely that the Supreme Court will rule in Rousseff’s favor after having rejected all previous arguments by her defense that the court should cancel the impeachment process on legal grounds.

However, in the improbable event that the Senate does accept the appeal, the Senate would have to repeat the Senate trial, returning Rousseff to the status of suspended president and Temer to the status of interim president.

Protests erupted in Brazil after the Senate vote consolidated the widely condemned “coup” against Rousseff and swiftly inaugurated Temer as the country’s president.

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