Former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. Photo: Reuters

BRAZIL—After 13 years in power, the Brazil’s Workers’ Party (PT) saw its reign fall like a great wall with Brazil’s Senate voting and approving the impeachment of now former President Dilma Rousseff.

The Senate impeached Brazil’s first female president on Aug. 31, removing her from office for the rest of her term. The decision was the capstone of a power struggle that has consumed the nation for months, and has toppled one of the hemisphere’s most powerful political parties.

Rousseff’s defeat occurred when the 81 Senators voted 61 to 20 to terminate her term. Rousseff was convicted on charges of manipulating the federal budget in an effort to conceal the nation’s mounting economic problems.

The impeachment puts a definitive end to an era during which Brazil’s economy boomed, lifting millions into the middle class and raising the country’s profile on the global stage.

Huge crowds of demonstrators take part in a protest on Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Miguel Schincariol/AFP

As soon as the impeachment was concluded, hundreds of thousands of people expressed mixed feelings, ranging from happy relief to distrust.

“Tchau querida” (“Bye Honey” in Portuguese) said Marilu Lugao, a resident of Rio de Janeiro.

Luciano Villar, who is one the leaders of the MUDA BRASIL (Change Brazil) movement expressed his emotions when the impeachment was officially announced.

“Now we feel relieved,” Villar said. “It was a long 13 years of corrupt government, that destroyed our main company Petrobras, and where unemployment reached 11 million in the country. We now have a sensation that the country will have a new direction, and I feel that our train will get back on a new track.”

“She lacked it all,” added Mentor Muniz Neto, a writer from São Paulo who described Rousseff’s ouster as a “death foretold,” asserting that she lacked charisma, competence and humility. “We deserved better.”

According to the Brazilian constitution, the vice president is to become the head of the government. Michel Temer, 75, the interim president who served as Rousseff’s vice president before breaking ties with her this year, is now expected to remain in office until the end of the current term in 2018.

Although the majority of the people wanted Rousseff out, there are many who don’t want Temer to assume power either. Since becoming interim president in May, Temer’s approval ratings have been nearly as dismal as Rousseff’s. Temer formed his cabinet exclusively with white men, excluding female and Afro-Brazilian ministers. The move outraged many in a country where nearly 51 percent of the people define themselves as black or mixed race, according to the 2010 census.

Daniel Cruz, a Rousseff supporter, doesn’t believe in Temer.

“Our country has a tendency to get worse because there’s no use in removing Dilma, and putting in someone else in the same position,” Cruz said. “It’s necessary to remove all of those in office and put in others who are responsible, have character and who can implement laws to improve our country. And make our country move forward in all facets: education, safety, health.”

Creuza Maria Oliveira was among the supporters who accompanied Rousseff to the Senate.

“It’s painfully obvious that Temer is a slap in the face to Brazilian democracy,” said Creuza Maria Oliveira, president of the National Federation of Domestic Workers, which represents millions of maids who benefited from the strengthening of labor laws implemented by Rousseff. “Dilma is a champion of the poor. Temer is a champion of his own political class, which he wants to shield from justice.”

There are some, however, who believe that with Rousseff out, Brazil can avoid becoming like its neighbor Venezuela, a country currently in chaos.

“Temer’s administration has all the conditions needed to embark on a new route,” Philipp Schiemer, the head of Mercedes-Benz’s operations in Brazil, told reporters recently. “We need to decide if we want a Brazil like Venezuela or a Brazil inserted in the new world.”

Controversies aside, what many in Brazil can agree upon and expect is that the country needs is a big change in order to get back on the route of success that led the country to host global events such as the World Cup and the Olympics, and to have one of the top economies.