Brazil’s senators have voted to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial over allegations that she illegally manipulated the budget to hide a growing fiscal deficit.
After a marathon debate ending with a vote on Thursday, 55 of the 81 senators voted in favour of impeachment while 22 voted against.
The momentous vote in Brazil’s senate has placed President Dilma Rousseff on trial and suspended her from office for 180 days.
Rousseff’s presidency has been damaged by corruption scandals, political paralysis and a sharp economic downturn.
Rousseff does not personally face corruption charges, but is accused of breaking budget accounting rules ahead of her 2014 re-election campaign.
The result indicates that when the trial is over and it comes to a final vote on whether to remove Ms Rousseff – which would requires the support of two thirds of the senate – her chances of holding on are slim.
“The votes on the senate floor shows Dilma’s comeback is practically impossible,” said Juliano Griebeler, a political analyst at Barral M Jorge consultancy in Brasília.
“The opposition already has the two thirds necessary to guarantee the judgement and this scenario will be difficult to reverse.”
Ms Rousseff has now been reduced to a president exiled in her own country.
While she is tried, she will remain in her residence, the Alvorada palace, and will retain a staff and an official plane.
But for the six months in which her trial is heard by the senate, Vice-President Michel Temer will be Brazil’s interim president