Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff denounces 'coup plot' she says is being lead by Vice President Michel Temer, who would take over presidency if she is impeached
Brazil's embattled President Dilma Rousseff, denounced "a coup plot" against her, and pointed at Vice President Michel Temer as one of the leaders of the plot.
An impeachment committee voted 38-27 on Monday stating that there are grounds to impeach President Dilma Rousseff on charges of breaking budget laws to allegedly favour her re-election in 2014.
Vice President Temer would replace Rousseff, if the lower house and later the Senate would vote in favour of the president's impeachment.
Controversy erupted on Monday with the release of a recording in which Temer practices the speech he would give if he took over from Rousseff. Temer's office said that the incident was an accident.
Temer adopts a presidential tone, calling for "unification of the country."
Temer has denied plotting against Rousseff, though his aides say he has been preparing in case he has to step into her shoes, so that he can restore confidence in the country.
"They now are conspiring openly, in the light of day, to destabilise a legitimately elected president," Rousseff said in a speech on Tuesday, referring to the audio message.
Rousseff is struggling to avoid impeachment and her government is largely paralyzed as Brazil, the world's seventh largest economy, faces a deep recession and a historic corruption scandal while it prepares to host the Olympic Games in August.
"The conspirators have been unmasked," Rousseff said on Tuesday. It was a an apparent reference to Vice President Temer and lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, who is the next in line to assume the presidency after Temer.
The leftist leader said her opponents were undermining Brazil's young democracy by seeking to cut her second term short with no legal justification.
"They intend to overthrow a president elected by more than 54 million voters," said Rousseff, whose popularity has crumbled during Brazil's recession and the corruption scandal surrounding state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras.
Dozens of politicians from all political parties are under investigation for their alleged involvement in a kickback scheme at the state-run oil firm. Both Temer and Cunha are among those under watch.
Reverting to language that seeks to cast those in favor of her ouster as enemies of the working class, Rousseff said the impeachment is aimed at rolling back social and economic advances for many Brazilians during the 13-years of government for her ruling Workers' Party.