Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff defied calls for her impeachment Tuesday, saying she would "not fall," despite rock-bottom ratings and mounting political troubles.
The unpopular leader, a one-time member of a leftist guerrilla group who was tortured during the military dictatorship ruling Brazil from 1964 to 1985, compared those calling for her to step down to "coup plotters."
"I am not going to fall. No, I won't go," she said in a front page interview with the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.
"People who fall are those ready to fall and I'm not.
"There is no basis for me to go. Just let them try. If there is something I'm not afraid of, it's this," she said.
Rousseff, re-elected to a second term in a tight election last year, has seen her popularity nosedive as Brazil's commodities-driven boom comes to a halt and ordinary people start feeling the pinch from austerity measures.
In addition, Rousseff has been politically tainted, if not actually directly involved, in a massive corruption scandal centered on the state oil conglomerate Petrobras.
Rousseff's Worker's Party, which has dominated the country of 200 million people for more than a decade, has lost much of its clout in congress.
On Sunday, her defeated opponent in last year's election, Aecio Neves, suggested that Rousseff might step down before her term is up, although he did not explain his comment.
"Today a big part of Brazil is waiting for our position," he said, after being re-elected to head the opposition PDSB party.
Other opposition figures have called for Rousseff's impeachment, although no concrete moves have been taken.
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