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Brazil’s Rousseff demands ‘justice’ in impeachment trial

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Dilma Rousseff. (AFP Photo/Andressa Anholete)

Dilma Rousseff. (AFP Photo/Andressa Anholete)

Brazil’s suspended president Dilma Rousseff said Thursday she will demand “justice” when she defends herself next week at an impeachment trial.

Rousseff was suspended from office in May over accusations that she fiddled with state accounts to make the numbers look better in an election year.

Senators will vote on whether to remove her from office for good after an impeachment trial starting on August 25.

The leftist leader, 68, has denied breaking budget laws.

“I expect justice from the Senate,” Rousseff told a gathering of foreign correspondents on Thursday.

“In the Senate, I will argue not only for democracy and respect for the direct vote of the Brazilian people, but also for justice.”

Rousseff is widely expected to lose the impeachment vote, since media calculate that a large majority of Senators will vote against her. But she said on Thursday she was refusing to think about defeat.

She is scheduled to have half an hour on August 29 to present her defense in person. The Senate’s final vote is expected on August 31.

Rousseff has branded the impeachment drive a “coup” by her former vice-president and interim successor Michel Temer and other conservative rivals.

“He did not want to be a mere decorative figure. He wanted to be president,” she said. “He betrayed me.”

She said that if she was spared by the Senate, she would back a referendum on holding early elections.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday authorized an investigation into allegations that Rousseff tried to obstruct a corruption probe into the state oil firm Petrobras.

The probe has dragged in politicians on both sides of the political fence, including allies of Temer.


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