Friday, 20 October, 2017

I was a victim of parliamentary boycott, President Rousseff says

Melinda Barton | 01 September, 2016, 14:31

Several hundred supporters of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff are demonstrating outside Congress ahead of her appearance for the Senate's impeachment trial of the suspended leader.

Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff speaks at her own impeachment trial, in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016.

Her fight, she said, had been for a more equal society and that the achievements of her government in that field were now "at risk". He said the more votes Temer got, the stronger would be his mandate to take the hard measures needed to restore confidence in Brazil's economy, caught in a two-year recession.

In a final message, Rousseff urged senators to vote against the impeachment, and instead "vote for democracy.". Rousseff was suspended from office in May pending an investigation of the allegations and Temer took over as interim president.

Although her presidency has been mired in the Petrobras embezzlement and bribery scandal, she herself has never been charged with trying to enrich herself - unlike many of her prominent accusers and close allies.

Opponents, however, have broadened the accusation to paint Rousseff's loans as part of her disastrous mismanagement, contributing to once booming Brazil's slide into recession.

The investigation has led to the jailing of senior businessmen and politicians, including in her Workers' Party.

Rousseff, a trained economist and daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant, was handpicked by ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to succeed him when he stepped aside in 2012, despite her lack of political experience and charisma.

Declaring her innocence and recalling how she was tortured under Brazil's military dictatorship in the 1970s, Rousseff warned that Latin America's biggest country was on the verge of losing its democracy.

Brazil's first woman president was re-elected to a second term in 2014 by more than 54 million votes, but struggled practically from the day she took office again with an aggressive and empowered conservative opposition that lost by a small margin, a sputtering economy and general discontent with a corrupt governing class. "I did not commit a crime", Ms Rousseff told senators.

The Senate is scheduled to begin proceedings for a final vote on whether to remove her permanently sometime Tuesday. There is also anger against the political paralysis and the massive corruption scandal around Petrobras, the state oil firm.

"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.

Rousseff said it was "an irony of history" that she would be judged for crimes she did not commit, by people who were accused of serious crimes.

"This is totally different", Collor said, hinting that he would vote for Rousseff's removal, listing alleged mistakes that the embattled leader made in office.

"It wasn't just that a president lied", she added.

The trial is being presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski.

Instead of using her allotted time to question Rousseff, Senator Katia Abreu listed the president's accomplishments, especially in agriculture.

Associated Press writer Mauricio Savarese reported this story in Brasilia and AP writer Peter Prengaman reported from Rio de Janeiro.