Impeached Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff filed a Supreme Court challenge on Thursday to her removal from office in an early blow to new President Michel Temer’s bid to stabilise the country.
The appeal, filed by Rousseff’s lawyer Jose Eduardo Cardozo, demands "the immediate suspension of the effects of the Senate decision."
The Senate voted on Wednesday to convict Rousseff on charges of having illegally manipulated government accounts, stripping her of her office and replacing her with Temer, her bitter enemy and former vice president.
Cardozo’s appeal asks for "a new trial" during which Temer – who was sworn in as president up until the end of 2018 – would be downgraded to interim president.
Temer is now in China, attending a G20 summit, while Rousseff remains in the Alvorada presidential palace in Brasilia. She is expected to leave shortly for her personal apartment in the southern city of Porto Alegre.
Rousseff was convicted by a two-thirds Senate majority of taking illegal state loans to patch budget holes in 2014, masking the country’s problems as it slid into economic disarray.
Senators voting for her removal said she had contributed to Brazil’s economic crisis and acted with criminal irresponsibility.
Rousseff, from the leftist Workers’ Party, denied doing anything illegal and claimed to be the victim of a right-wing coup d’etat.
In a surprise move, a Senate vote on barring Rousseff from public office for eight years failed, meaning she is free to reenter political life. The ban had been considered by many to be a standard consequence of removal in an impeachment trial.
Rousseff left office with rock bottom ratings after being blamed by most Brazilians for the country’s slide into double digit inflation and unemployment. She has also been tainted by the revelation of a colossal embezzlement and kickbacks scheme at state oil giant Petrobras, although she has not been accused of participating herself.
Temer, from the center-right PMDB party, rode that dissatisfaction all the way to the presidency in an impeachment process he describes as giving Brazil a chance to put its house back in order.
Soon after being sworn in on Wednesday he told the nation that his only goal was to serve until 2018, leaving behind "a country that is reconciled, pacified and growing economically."