Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said on Monday that she will not back down in the face of attempts to impeach her, slamming the “unjust” moves of the opposition.
Speaking a day after the country’s lower house of Congress passed a motion to begin impeachment proceedings against her, Rousseff said she will “fight, like I have always done in my life”.
In a news conference, Rousseff insisted that she had committed no impeachable crime and accused Vice President Michel Temer of openly conspiring to topple her government in what she described as a ‘coup’, Reuters reported.
“While I am very saddened by this, I have the force, the spirit and the courage to fight this whole process to the end,” Rousseff said. “This is just the beginning of the battle, which will be long and drawn out.”
In a raucous vote late on Sunday, the opposition comfortably surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to send Brazil’s first female president for trial in the Senate on charges she manipulated budget accounts.
If the Senate votes by a simple majority to accept the case next month, as is expected, Rousseff would become the first Brazilian leader to be impeached for more than 20 years.
The crisis has sparked a bitter struggle between the 68-year-old Rousseff and her vice president Temer, 75, who will take power if she is impeached.
Rousseff stands accused of delaying payments to state lenders in order to artificially lower the budget deficit to boost her reelection bid in 2014.
Opinion polls show more than 60 percent of Brazilians support impeaching Rousseff, less than two years after the leftist leader narrowly won reelection.
Her popularity has been crushed by the recession and a vast graft scandal at state oil company Petrobras, Reuters noted.
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