Reuters International

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a launch ceremony of Agricultural and Livestock Plan for 2016/2017, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil May 4, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo


By Maria Carolina Marcello

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's President Rousseff vowed on Friday to resist her removal from office until the end, as a Senate committee met to vote on whether the leftist leader should be put on trial in the full chamber for breaking budget laws.

The impeachment process is expected to lead to Rousseff's suspension from office next week, pending a trial that could last six months, during which Vice President Michel Temer will replace her as acting president.

Only five of the 21 members of the upper house committee have said they will vote against sending Rousseff for trial, meaning her opponents comfortably have the majority they need to recommend the full Senate vote on Wednesday to try her.

"I will resist until the last day," Rousseff said at an event where she announced the delivery of low-cost housing. The president said she would not resign because she committed no crime and called her looming ouster a "coup d'etat."

If the Senate convicts her, Temer would serve out the remainder of Rousseff's second term through 2018. The Supreme Court has rejected government requests to halt the impeachment process.

Rousseff has struggled to survive politically in the face of Brazil's biggest ever corruption scandal and its worst recession since the 1930s. Her removal would mark an end to 13 years of leftist rule by the Workers Party that began in 2003 under her mentor, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Rousseff's supporters on the Senate committee called for annulment of the impeachment proceedings because the man who launched them last year, lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, was removed from office on Thursday by the Supreme Court for obstructing the investigation of corruption accusations against him.

Workers Party Senator Lindbergh Farias said the ouster of Rousseff was aimed at undoing Lula's work to help the poor, and at rolling back workers' benefits, privatising state companies and realigning Brazil's foreign policy with the United States.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Frances Kerry)


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