Brazil’s Congress dealt President Dilma Rousseff a harsh blow on April 17 when the lower house voted in favor of her impeachment over fiscal irregularities. The president, currently in year two of her second four-year term, has vowed not to resign while the country battles a historic recession and ongoing corruption investigations. The process now moves to the Senate, which has 180 days to vote on the issue.
Removing the president is one matter, but finding a palatable alternative to take her place is another. If Rousseff gets ousted, presidential succession would fall first to Vice President Michel Temer, then Speaker of the House Eduardo Cunha. Both face corruption charges. A Datafolha survey taken earlier this month found that 3 in 5 Brazilians supported removing not just Rousseff but also Temer from office, while almost 4 in 5 want Cunha out.
The only Brazilian president to face impeachment prior to Rousseff was Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992. However, he resigned before the Senate could vote on his impeachment. Since 1926, Brazil has elected nine presidents directly by popular vote, five of whom completed their terms.