- Title: BRAZIL-ROUSSEFF Brazil's president says she never considered quitting post
- Date: 13th August 2015
- Summary: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (FILE) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF PETROBRAS BUILDING
- Embargoed: 28th August 2015 13:00
- Location: Brazil
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVASQGSNLV4JEIIKM4RS9ZCU7XU
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Wednesday (August 12) she would not consider quitting despite calls for her impeachment from opponents in Congress as the economy sinks and her popularity hits record lows.
In an interview with SBT channel, Rousseff said the ongoing political crisis should not weigh down efforts to revive Brazil's flagging economy that she believes will improve by year-end.
Rousseff repeatedly resorts to the topic of the vote in response to calls for her to step down, stressing her democratic right to lead, despite having led the country into its worst downturn in 25 years.
"I would never consider quitting, because it is not possible for someone trying to further a particular process or policy to try and take down a representative, and in this case the president, who was elected by popular vote," said Rouseff.
Rousseff, a technocrat who had never run for public office before ascending to the presidency in 2011, is facing calls that she should step down due to allegations of illegal campaign financing and attempts to doctor the national budget last year.
A Datafolha report published last week showed that seven out of 10 respondents want to see her impeached, but experts say there is currently no legal foundations to impeach.
"The coup-mongering culture exists, but there are no conditions for that to happen," Rousseff said in the interview.
She said she does not believe the country will lose its investment grade and that the country's debt burden will not surpass the 70 percent of GDP mark. Brazil's gross debt has jumped to 63 percent of GDP in June from 59 percent just six months prior.
Facing a rapidly deteriorating economy, Rousseff succeeded in striking a deal with the Senate this week to seek a market-friendly agenda to counter an open rebellion in the Lower House of Congress.
"In terms of the economy we have a full plan of how to get out of the difficulties and the crisis that we are in. By recuperating exports and infrastructure, we think that Brazil will begin to grow once again," Rousseff said in the interview.
However, with only seven months into her second term, Rousseff has suffered a rash of defeats in Congress that has complicated efforts to rebalance public accounts to avoid losing Brazil's investment-grade rating.
She has lost control of her political base in Congress, and Eduardo Cunha, the speaker of the lower house of Congress broke ranks with the government in late July.
"Brazil is going through crisis which everyone is suffering and which the government is trying to tackle with tax adjustments. The congress has evaluated the government's capacity to lead the country according to particular criteria, which is our responsibility to do," said Cunha in a campaign broadcast.
A lower chamber bill raising salaries for police officers, prosecutors and government attorneys, is one of the "pautas-bomba" or "bomb-agendas" further fuelling tensions.
Even Rousseff's own Workers' Party voted for the spending bill, though she says it is economically unsustainable.
"The political mood is greatly influenced by the economic mood. But we cannot let the political mood compromise the economy. This is why we cannot permit the "bomb agenda". It is not possible to give a 70 percent adjustment to anyone anywhere in the world, it is not in line with the country's finances. We can't have such irresponsibility, and we cannot accept the theory that the worse things get the better," Rousseff added.
One of the heaviest weights on this mood is the country's largest ever corruption scandal surrounding state-run oil company Petrobras, in which executives of some of Brazil's main construction firms have been arrested, with credit lines drying up, projects suspended and many jobs lost.
The same Datafolha report showed 71 percent of Brazilians consider Rousseff's government "bad" or "very bad." These figures mean Rousseff is the most unpopular leader since the institute began its reports in 1987, ranked below Fernando Collor who left office by impeachment in 1992.
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