Michel Temer has taken office as president of Brazil. On Wednesday, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to remove his predecessor and former coalition partner, Dilma Rousseff, on charges of breaking budget laws.
Former Vice President Michel Temer assumed control of Brazil just hours after the upper house of Congress voted 61-20 to impeach Dilma Rousseff. The 75-year-old Temer will lead the country until the next presidential election, in 2018.
"From today on, the expectations are much higher for the government," Temer said.
Temer's rise halts 13 years of Workers' Party rule and signals an abrupt turn to the right for Brazil's government. Unpopular with Brazil's vulnerable populations, Temer appears likely to push a neoliberal agenda of privatizations and cut social programs.
Upon assuming interim control in May, Temer named a cabinet of all white men. Less than 50 percent of Brazil's population is white, and exclusion of indigenous peoples is a recurring issue. Three ministers soon resigned facing corruption allegations, which also follow Temer and threaten his hold on power.
Several polls have shown that Brazilians would prefer new elections. Protests have followed Temer's inauguration.
'The second coup'
In 2010, Rousseff, who trained as a guerrilla and was tortured under Brazil's dictatorship, became the first woman to win the presidency. She was re-elected in 2014.
"This coup is against social movements and unions and against those who fight for their rights," Rousseff said on Wednesday. "Rights for the young people to make history, rights for the black, indigenous, LGBT and women."
Rousseff promised to keep fighting. "In this moment, I will not say farewell," she said on Wednesday. "I feel certain I can instead say, 'See you soon.'"
Rousseff's impeachment followed a six-day trial on allegations of manipulating state budgets in her 2014 re-election bid, as well as improperly granting loans to the federal government from state-owned banks. Despite a lack of evidence implicating her, many Brazilians also blame Rousseff for the graft associated with the state oil giant Petrobras.
See you soon, says Rousseff
Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador pulled their ambassadors in response to her impeachment, and Cuba and Nicaragua protested the "legislative coup." In a tit-for-tat measure, Brazil's new regime recalled its own ambassadors from La Paz, Caracas and Quito. The United States appeared confident that bilateral relations with Brazil would continue.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Rousseff's successor in a statement, saying he "trusts that, under President Temer's leadership, Brazil and the United Nations will continue their traditional close partnership." Ban thanked Rousseff for her support for the world body throughout her tenure.
Temer plans to travel to New York to deliver an address on September 20 at the General Assembly gathering of world leaders.