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Brazil’s Rousseff: I will not resign

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (L) is seen next to the Minister of Justice Eugenio Aragao (R) during a meeting with jurists and lawyers who support the President on March 22, 2016. (AFP photo)

President Dilma Rousseff says she will not step down despite impeachment calls from opponents as Brazil faces its worst political crisis in decades.

Rousseff on Tuesday called on the country’s Supreme Court to remain impartial in the dispute amid efforts by opposition to seek her impeachment in Congress.

"I will never resign under any circumstances," the Brazilian leader said. "I have committed no crime that would warrant shortening my term."

She described efforts to remove her from office as amounting to a “coup.” 

The opposition has jumped on a multi-billion-dollar graft case at state oil company Petrobras to pressure the president.

Rousseff's opponents accuse her of manipulating government accounts for her own benefit during the 2014 re-election, a charge she vehemently denies. 

The political crisis comes as the country is coping with its worst recession in years.

The survival of Rousseff depends largely on support from her main coalition partner, the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB).

PMDB leader and Vice President Michel Temer is coveting Rousseff's position in order to put an end to the 13-year rule of the leftist Workers’ Party. 

Rousseff's remarks came shortly after the head of the Brazilian Senate met with her predecessor former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday.

People demonstrate against Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo downtown on March 17 2016. (AFP photo)

Rousseff gave him a cabinet post recently, but a Supreme Court judge intervened to suspend his nomination as minister.

Opponents say the appointment was aimed at giving him immunity from potential prosecution. Lula has been accused of accepting a luxury apartment as a bribe from a company involved in the graft case.

Rousseff says she appointed Lula to help her rebuild her political base in Congress and fight the impeachment proceedings.

An impeachment committee in the lower house of Congress is expected to reach a decision within a month on whether to recommend removing Rousseff.

Brazil has been the scene of protests by those demanding the ouster of the president. Rousseff's supporters have also taken to the streets in massive numbers to show support.

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