Brazil's people will 'prevent setbacks' to democracy: Embattled President Dilma Rousseff

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff delivers her remarks during the signing ceremony on climate change at the UN Headquarters, on April 22, 2016.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff delivers her remarks during the signing ceremony on climate change at the UN Headquarters, on April 22, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - President Dilma Rousseff voiced confidence on Friday (April 22) that Brazil's people will "be able to prevent any setbacks" to democracy as she battles a bid to impeach her.

"Brazil is a great country endowed with a society that was able to overcome authoritarianism in the past," Rousseff said at the United Nations during a ceremony for the signing of the Paris climate deal.

"Ours is a hard-working people. We have great esteem for freedom. I have no doubt that our people will be able to prevent any setbacks," she said.

Rousseff is fighting for her political survival at home following allegations that she used illegal accounting manoeuvres to mask budget deficits during the 2014 election year.

The leader has denied the charges and spoke of a "grave serious moment" in Brazil at the end of her remarks devoted mostly to climate change.

The president thanked "all the leaders who have expressed their solidarity to me."

While in New York, Rousseff left Vice President Michel Temer in charge even though she has accused him of conspiring to oust her.

The Brazilian Senate is due to vote on opening a trial next month, a vote that would force Rousseff to step aside for 180 days and put Temer back in the executive office.

After that, a two-thirds majority vote would be enough to oust her permanently, leaving Temer to serve out her term, which ends in late 2018.