Rousseff proposes plebiscite on early election to help avoid impeachment

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/18 22:08:39

Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff proposed on Tuesday to hold a plebiscite on calling an early presidential election if she was restored to power.

The proposal was made more than a week ahead of a Senate impeachment vote against Rousseff on Aug. 25, four days after the end of the Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro. It is seen as her last-ditch effort to avoid a permanent removal from office.

In a long letter read out in Brasilia "to the federal senate and Brazilian people", Rousseff repeated her proposal for the South American country to hold early elections to enable political and electoral reforms 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 the best way to ... perfect the Brazilian political and electoral system. It is the only way out of a crisis," said the suspended president.

Rousseff vowed to call a plebiscite on whether to hold early elections if she comes back to power.

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

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

"I am innocent," she noted. "There is no injustice more devastating than to condemn an innocent person."

Rousseff admitted her administration made mistakes and that she accepted "with humility and determination" "tough criticisms" of the errors.

Her current term ends in 2018. If she fails to survive the impeachment, interim President Michel Temer will serve out his term.

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

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

The final phase of Rousseff's impeachment process is expected to last for about five days, and the actual judgment 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.

Rousseff's second administration, beginning in 2014, has been troubled, with economic decline, rising unemployment and political crises hitting her image, including the impact of a huge corruption scandal that has implicated both her allies and members of the opposition.

Apart from the impeachment vote, Rousseff is now also facing extra pressure as a Brazilian Federal Supreme Court justice has authorized the opening of an investigation into her alleged obstruction of the course of a sweeping corruption probe, according to a GloboNews report on Tuesday which did not disclose the source of the information.

She is accused of trying to appoint her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to a cabinet post in order to help him avoid prosecution.

Lula is also Rousseff's political mentor and the founder of the Workers' Party.

In a statement, Rousseff's aide denied the accusations, saying the investigation of Rousseff and Lula will allow "the truth to prevail."

The article is a commentary from the Xinhua News Agency. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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