Brazilian President defends budget record

Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff has defended her record during her impeachment trial in the Senate.

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

Ms Rousseff 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.

Ms Rousseff is accused of moving funds between government budgets, which is illegal under Brazilian law.

Her critics say she was trying to plug deficit holes in popular social programmes to boost her chances of being re-elected for a second term in October 2014.

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

She said she had always honored and upheld the Constitution.

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 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“.

Ms Rousseff said she had been “unjustly accused” of crimes she said she had not committed. “I can’t help but taste the bitterness of injustice,” she said.

She also warned of the dangers she said the interim government of acting President Michel Temer posed.

Ms Rousseff said Mr Temer’s administration would limit public spending and act in the interest of a small economic elite.

The future of Brazil is at stake,” she said.

She ended her defence by again talking about her time in captivity, briefly choking with emotion when she mentioned the torture she had endured “for days on end“.

She thanked those senators who had fought for her to be cleared of the charges before asking those who were opposed to her to “vote against the impeachment, vote for democracy”.

Senators from her Workers’ Party stood up and applauded once she had finished, while her opponents sat in their seats stony-faced.

BBC/Hauwa M,