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Brazil’s embattled president says she will not resign

March 11, 2016

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Friday said she will not resign despite mounting pressure to do so and that there is no legal justification backing efforts to impeach her.

Rousseff faces impeachment proceedings over alleged fiscal mismanagement, while the Supreme Electoral Court is considering possible campaign funding irregularities that could end up annulling her 2014 re-election.

Rousseff spoke to reporters at the end of a meeting with rectors of federal universities.

She said people shouldn’t demand the resignation of an elected president like her without concrete evidence that she violated the constitution.

She said that “if there is no reason to do so, I will not step down.”

Asked about recent press reports that said she may name former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to a ministerial post to shield him from possible imprisonment on corruption and money laundering charges, Rousseff said she would be “extremely proud” to have Silva in her government.

“But, I will not discuss with you if he will or will not be part of the government.”

Under Brazilian law, only the Supreme Court can authorize the investigation, imprisonment and trial of cabinet members.

Last week, federal police questioned Silva in an investigation into a sprawling corruption case involving state-run oil company Petrobras that has ensnared some of the country’s top lawmakers and wealthiest businessmen.

And on Wednesday Sao Paulo state prosecutors charged Silva with money laundering, in a separate case. A judge must accept the charges in order for that case to move forward.

Silva governed from 2003 to 2010. Despite a votes-for-bribes scandal that took down his chief of staff and others, he left office with record high popularity levels and his hand-picked successor, Rousseff, handily won the presidency.

Update hourly