Brazil: Current president is a traitor, says Rousseff

Impeached president Dilma Rousseff wants government to hold early elections because current president is “illegitimate”.

Former Brazil president Dilma Rousseff has labelled the current leader Michel Temer a “traitor” and “illegitimate president” and called on the government to hold fresh elections.

The Senate suspended Rousseff in May over accusations of illegal accounting practices and manipulating the budget to mask a slumping economy.

Rousseff denied any wrongdoing and described efforts to remove her as a coup. But she was stripped of presidency in August following her impeachment and was replaced by Temer.

“[President Temer] is obviously an illegitimate president of Brazil,” Rousseff said on Al Jazeera’s UpFront. 

Brazil’s Rousseff says impeachment proceedings a ‘coup’

“That’s because the process which brought him to government … is a process based on tearing up the Brazilian constitution.

“I never expected him to be a traitor and he is a traitor. He didn’t betray me as a person. He betrayed the President of Brazil. He betrayed an institution. And furthermore, he betrayed a campaign.” 

During the interview, Rousseff addressed the allegations that led to her impeachment.

“The parliament allied itself with segments of the judiciary system and launched a coup, removing a president from office with completely unsubstantiated allegations.”

Some 61 of 81 senators voted to impeach Rousseff in August after a five-day trial and a lengthy overnight debate. She claimed that her enemies were punishing her for refusing to block corruption investigations, adding new elections were the only way “the coup can be blocked”. 

OPINION: A neoliberal carnival in Brazil

Rousseff asserted impeachment was the price she paid for refusing to quash a wide-ranging police investigation into the state oil giant Petrobras, saying corrupt politicians conspired to oust her to derail the investigation into billions in kickbacks at the company.

Prior to assuming presidency, Rousseff was chairman of Petrobas [between 2003 and 2010] but denied any knowledge of corruption inside the company.

The Workers’ Party, under Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is credited with raising about 29 million Brazilians out of poverty.

Now, she has called upon the Brazilian government to conduct fresh elections and not wait until 2018.

“I believe that the key component in the ongoing struggle in Brazil today is a return of free elections for president,” she said.

“We must elect a new president of the Republic so that this coup is effectively blocked.”

This ‘UpFront’ interview with Dilma Rousseff airs Friday December 16 at 19:30GMT. The full show will be available here.

Source: Al Jazeera