Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vowed during a defiant interview broadcast Thursday to “continue to keep fighting” to return to power if she is forced from office.
Senators will vote next week on whether to open an impeachment trial against her over alleged manipulation of government financial accounts.
“We will continue to keep fighting to return to government. We will resist, resist, resist,” she told the BBC in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia.
If, as expected, the Senate votes for a trial, she will be suspended for six months — and many analysts believe she has little chance of ever returning to office.
She is accused of illegally manipulating government accounts but says she is the victim of a coup mounted by her vice president, Michel Temer, who would replace her if she is suspended.
“The impeachment process is illegitimate, illegal,” she said, vowing to fight “to the bitter end” to return to power.
“Do not count on me to resign. If I resign, the living proof that there is a coup … disappears,” she said.
Rousseff greeted the Olympic flame in Brazil on Tuesday in what may prove to be one of her final major public events as president.
“I risk not being present as president at the Olympic games. The fear that it won’t be me but someone who has usurped my position gives me a feeling of sadness and injustice,” she told the BBC.
“They may well investigate me. I’ll accept any inquiry because I know I’m innocent.
“(But) even if it’s proved later that the accusations were unfounded … the damage is already done.”
The impeachment case rests on accusations that Rousseff illegally manipulated government budget accounts, a relatively technical issue that Rousseff says has been politicised in order to mount a “coup” against her.