Rousseff proposes public vote on early election if surviving impeachment

Updated: 2016-08-17 15:22


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Rousseff proposes public vote on early election if surviving impeachment

Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff reads a letter to the country in Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, August 16, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

BRASILIA -- Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday that she would hold a public vote on calling an early presidential election if she would be returned to the presidency.

She made the proposal in a long letter read out in Brasilia "to the federal Senate and Brazilian people" before a Senate impeachment vote against her scheduled for Aug. 25, four days after the end of the Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro.

Rousseff was suspended in May over accusations of violating fiscal rules to cover up a huge budget deficit during her 2014 re-election.

In the letter, She reiterated her denial of the accusations, insisting that her forced removal from office would amount to "a coup."

"I am innocent," she noted, admitting mistakes had been made during her administration. She also said she accepted "tough criticisms" of her errors.

Rousseff repeated her proposal for the South American country to hold early elections to enable a new institutional form of politics which would overcome "the fragmentation of parties, make campaign financing moral...and give more power to the voters."

"The full restoration of democracy requires that the population decide what is the best way to...perfect the Brazilian political and electoral system. It is the only way out of a crisis," she said.

Rousseff vowed to call a plebiscite on whether to hold early elections if she would come back to power. Her current term ends in 2018. If she fails to survive the impeachment, interim President Michel Temer will serve out the term.

Amid growing discontent at Temer's interim administration, the idea of early elections has been gaining popularity and won 62 percent support in a Datafolha poll conducted in July.

However, holding an early election requires a constitutional amendment, and faces opposition from within Rousseff's Workers' Party.

The final phase of Rousseff's impeachment process is expected to last for about five days, and the actual judgement vote is reported to likely take place on Aug. 30 or 31. A two-thirds majority in the Senate vote is needed to remove Rousseff from office.