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Brazil’s Rousseff urges Senate vote against impeachment

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Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff answers to questions during her impeachment trial, at the National Congress in Brasilia, on August 29, 2016. Rousseff who testified for the first time at her trial, urged the Senate to vote against impeaching her, denying charges that she fiddled government accounts.  / AFP PHOTO / EVARISTO SA

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff answers to questions during her impeachment trial, at the National Congress in Brasilia, on August 29, 2016.<br />Rousseff who testified for the first time at her trial, urged the Senate to vote against impeaching her, denying charges that she fiddled government accounts. / AFP PHOTO / EVARISTO SA

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.


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