Brazil's Rousseff confident as impeachment trial begins

Suspended president tells Al Jazeera she will fight to the end charges of manipulating budget during election campaign.


    Dilma Rousseff, the suspended Brazilian president accused of manipulating the budget, has told Al Jazeera that she will fight the case against her to the end.

    The impeachment process against Rousseff, who has been in office since 2011, has officially started.

    "We are going to present witnesses. We want them to analyse every minute detail of the charges," Rousseff told Al Jazeera in an interview at the Presidential Residence, where she is allowed to remain during the impeachment process.

    Brazil's impeachment trial

    - The Senate has 180 days maximum to conduct hearings, which will be monitored by the chief justice of the Supreme Federal Tribunal - the country's top court.

    - If two-thirds of 81 senators then support impeachment, she will be permanently removed from office.

    - Rousseff will have to step down immediately in case of a "yes" vote and will be banned from public office for eight years.

    - The vice president is in charge during her suspension and will complete rest of the presidential tenure until 2018 in case of a "yes" vote.

    - If the Senate votes against the impeachment or if no decision is taken within the stipulated 180 days, Rousseff's suspension will end and she will return as president.

    "I believe that every impeachment must guarantee the right of defence.

    "In the final vote, we need 28 votes to win. We have 22, so it's not something so impossible to achieve - winning six more votes."

    Rousseff does not personally face corruption charges, but is accused of breaking budget accounting rules during her 2014 re-election campaign.

    Her opponents are eager to wrap up the trial by August 2, before Brazil hosts the Olympic Games.

    Rousseff's new-found confidence may not be unwarranted.

    Two senators who supported her impeachment have said they are now reconsidering.

    This follows revelations involving two of interim President Michel Temer's top ministers.

    Both Fabiano Silveira, transparency chief, and Romero Jucathe planning minister, were forced to resign after recordings were leaked allegedly showing them conspiring to derail ongoing corruption investigations.

    While the political drama unfolds, the latest quarterly GDP report confirms what ordinary Brazilians already know, that their economy is falling deeper into recession.

    In the last quarter of 2015, the economy shrunk a massive 5.4 percent compared with the first quarter of last year.

    While Rousseff blames her opponents for not letting her govern, many Brazilians say the corruption and instability of their entire political class is driving the world's seventh largest economy into the ground.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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