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Temer Takes Oath of Office as Brazil's New President

  • VOA Staff

Senators greet Brazil's Michel Temer, center, as he arrives to take the presidential oath at the National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 31, 2016.

Senators greet Brazil's Michel Temer, center, as he arrives to take the presidential oath at the National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 31, 2016.

Brazil's new president, Michel Temer, promised a "new era" of government for that crisis-hit country Wednesday, shortly after being sworn in following the impeachment of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff.

Earlier, the Brazilian senate voted 61-20 to remove Rousseff from office for breaking federal budget laws.

The verdict came down after Rousseff, the country's first female president, underwent more than 14 hours of questioning on Monday. The final arguments in her impeachment trial took place Tuesday. Of the 81 senators, at least 54 were required to vote in favor of impeachment for the decision to be binding.

Speaking at a televised cabinet meeting after taking the oath of office, Temer said his priorities were to fix Brazil's economy, attract foreign investment, reduce unemployment and begin reform of the pension system.

But he warned that he would not tolerate divisions within his coalition. Temer appeared annoyed that some of his allies had moved to grant Rousseff political rights without consulting his government.

Rousseff was accused of illegally using money from state banks to cover deficits in the federal budget in an effort to boost her popularity heading into the 2014 presidential election. She denied wrongdoing and accused her political opponents of using the trial as a way to overthrow her and undermine Brazil's democracy.

"They decided to interrupt the mandate of a president who had committed no crime. They have convicted an innocent person and carried out a parliamentary coup," Rousseff said in a statement following the Senate vote.

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."

Some information for this report was provided by AP

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