Brazil’s Rousseff defends record at trial

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Dilma Rouseff defends self before Senate in Brazil
Dilma Rouseff defends self before Senate in Brazil

By Ifeanyi Nwoko

(BBC) Brazil’s suspended President, Dilma Rousseff has defended her record during her impeachment trial in the Senate according to reports from the BBC.

Ms Rousseff is accused of illegally manipulating the budget to hide a growing deficit.

She said her conscience was “absolutely clean” and that she had not committed any crime.

Senators are due to vote later this week on whether to remove her from office for good or whether to reinstate her.

‘Fighting on’

Ms Rousseff began her defence by reminding Senators that she had been re-elected by more than 54 million voters.

She also reminded Senators of her past as a resistance fighter who opposed military rule.

She said that even when she was tortured she continued to fight.

Her fight, she said, had been for a more equal society and that that the achievements of her government in that field were now “at risk”.

She added that she was determined to continue her fight against the attacks against her, which she said amounted to a “coup”.

Determined smile

When Ms Rousseff arrived at the Senate building in Brasilia shortly after 09:00 local time (12:00 GMT), she was accompanied by her friend and mentor, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

She greeted supporters before entering the Senate smiling.

A group of about 200 people had gathered outside the building chanting: “Come back Dilma!”

Ms Rousseff will be given 30 minutes to speak and is expected to give a passionate defence of her time in office.

The suspended president has in the past said that the impeachment proceedings are a ploy by her political rivals to end the 13 years in power of her left-wing Workers Party.

She has argued that moving money from the state bank to fill budget holes is not an impeachable offence and is something her predecessors in office have also done.

After giving her defence, she will be questioned by senators.

The impeachment vote is scheduled for Tuesday but analysts say it could slip into Wednesday.

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