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Brazil thrown into even greater political limbo

Under the pretext of attending a United Nations event on climate change, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff - currently undergoing an impeachment trial - will travel to New York on Thursday.

She will attend the U.N. event on Friday where, while world leaders sign the COP21 accord, she is expected to denounce the attempt to impeach her as illegal, according to Reuters.

Rousseff has called the process that could see her forced from office within weeks a "coup d'état without weapons," said Reuters.

Brazil, in the midst of its deepest recession in 25 years, is facing an unprecedented political crisis. Nine ministers of Rousseff's cabinet have resigned since she was accused of manipulating state funds to run her 2014 presidential campaign. She denies all charges.

Her vice-president, Michel Temer, whom she accuses of trying to overthrow her, will ironically be handed power of the country while she is abroad.


"This is a rather unusual coup," said Temer's spokesman Marcio de Freitas, to various media. "She is going to the U.N. to denounce a coup but handing over power during her trip to the man she says is trying to overthrow her."


Michel Temer listens during an interview in New York, U.S.
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Michel Temer listens during an interview in New York, U.S.

Reuters reported that Rousseff will defend herself in interviews with the international media. Should Rousseff be impeached, Temer will take over the reins and preside until the next elections of 2018.

To complicate matters even further, Brazil's former president and Rousseff's mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is still unable to perform his duties as her chief of staff. The Supreme Court postponed its decision Wednesday on whether Lula, as he is widely known, could return to a government position.

Rousseff gave Lula the role in March – in a move that was widely seen as a bid to save her presidency – but the former leftist leader, who is accused of taking part in the state-run oil company Petrobras' scandal, has thus been barred of any governmental duties.

The decision to impeach Rousseff now lies in the hands of the Senate, which is expected to return a verdict by mid-May.

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