rousseff urges vote against impeachment
Last Updated : GMT 17:34:35
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Last Updated : GMT 17:34:35
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Rousseff urges vote against impeachment

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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice Rousseff urges vote against impeachment

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff gestures before delivering her speech during the impeachment trial, at the National Congress in Brasilia.
Brasilia - Arab today

 Brazil’s suspended president Dilma Rousseff urged the Senate Monday to vote against impeaching her, denying charges that she fiddled government accounts.

“Vote against impeachment, vote for democracy... Do not accept a coup,” the 68-year-old leftist leader said as she defended herself before senators who are widely expected to remove her from office.

Rousseff - Brazil’s first female president - was testifying for the first time at her trial, hours before senators were to start voting on her fate.

All indications point to her being removed from office, ending 13 years of rule by the leftist Workers’ Party in Latin America’s biggest country.

Branding accusations against her “a pretext for a constitutional coup,” Rousseff called herself a fighter for democracy

“I’ve come to look your excellencies in the eye and to say that I did not commit a crime,” Rousseff, 68, said in a calm, firm voice from the Senate chamber podium.

“I did not commit the crimes for which I have been accused unjustly and arbitrarily.”

Rousseff is accused of having taken illegal state loans to patch budget holes.

But momentum to push her out of office is also fueled by deep anger at Brazil’s historic recession, political paralysis and a vast corruption scandal centered on state oil giant Petrobras.

Rousseff also told the Senate that the future of Brazil was at stake.

She said Brazil’s economic elite and political opposition had sought to destabilise her government since her 2014 re-election.

Rousseff denounced the nine-month impeachment process that has paralysed Brazilian politics as a plot to overthrow her and protect the interests of Brazil’s privileged classes, including the privatisation of public assets such as massive subsalt oil reserves.

“What we are about to witness is a serious violation of the Constitution and a real coup d’etat,” Rousseff said.

She warned that a conservative government would slash spending on social programmes, undoing the gains of the past decade in the fight against poverty.

“The future of Brazil is at stake,” she said.

Several hundred supporters chanted “Dilma, warrior of the Brazilian nation” outside Congress when her motorcade arrived.

A deep recession that many Brazilians blame her for and a huge corruption scandal involving state-run energy company Petrobras have undermined Rousseff’s popularity since she was re-elected in 2014.

Her vice president, Michel Temer, has been interim president since mid-May, when Rousseff was suspended after Congress decided it would continue the impeachment process that began in the lower house.

If the Senate convicts Rousseff on Tuesday or Wednesday as expected, Temer, 75, will be sworn in to serve the rest of her term through 2018. His business-friendly government vows to take unpopular austerity measures to plug a growing fiscal deficit that cost Brazil its investment-grade credit rating last year.

Appealing to undecided senators, Rousseff, 68, pointed to a lifetime fighting for democracy, from her arrest and torture by a military dictatorship for belonging to a left-wing guerrilla group to election as Brazil’s first female president.

Twenty of her former Cabinet ministers were in the Senate gallery to support Rousseff, along with her political mentor and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, founder of the Workers Party.

With the odds stacked against her, Rousseff’s testimony appears to be aimed at making a point for the history books that her impeachment was a travesty, rather than a bid to sway the 81-seat Senate to block her ouster.

Temer is confident he has the two-thirds of the chamber needed to remove Rousseff, and he has planned an address to the nation on Wednesday before heading to China to attend the summit of the G20 group of leading economies.

“We need 54 votes and we expect to get at least 60,” Temer’s press spokesman, Marcio de Freitas, said.

He said the more votes Temer received, the stronger would be his mandate to take the difficult measures needed to restore confidence in Brazil’s economy, which is caught in a two-year recession.

Rousseff is accused of using money from state banks to bolster spending during an election year in 2014. She says the money had no impact on overall deficit levels and was paid back in full the following year.

A survey published by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper on Monday showed 53 senators would vote against Rousseff and only 19 would back her — nine short of the 28 she needs to avoid being ousted. Nine senators have not stated their position.

But even senators not convinced the accounting charges brought against Rousseff warrant her removal will vote against her because they do not believe she has enough support to govern anymore and end Brazil’s political crisis.

“I will vote against her even though I think it is a tragedy to get rid of an elected president, but another 2-1/2 years of a Dilma government would be worse,” centrist Senator Cristovam Buarque said in a phone interview

source : gulfnews

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