July 7, 2015 / 1:16 PM / 3 years ago

Brazil's Rousseff tells paper she is uncowed by opposition calls to quit

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told newspaper Folha de S. Paulo in an interview published Tuesday that she plans to finish her term and continue with efforts to narrow the budget deficit in spite of growing calls among opponents for her resignation.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff arrives to tour the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Facility at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California July 1, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

When asked repeatedly by Folha reporters about heightening pressure for her to step down amid revelations that members of her ruling coalition received bribes from state contractors in recent years, Rousseff said she would not back down and was uncowed by calls for her resignation.

“I am not going to fall. I won’t, I won’t. That’s too wimpy, this is a political fight,” she told Folha. “There’s no basis for me to fall.”

“Try me, try me,” she added.

In the interview, Rousseff said part of the opposition are trying to instigate an impeachment process.

“To oust a president you have to explain why. They are mixing their wishes with reality. Is there any real basis to do that? I don’t believe there is any at all,” she added.

According to Folha, she lauded efforts by the PMDB party, the largest in her coalition after her Workers’ Party, to support her program. She also refrained from criticizing her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who in recent weeks said she was “running on fumes.”

Rousseff, who began her second, four-year term in January, said the government is working on new measures to adjust public finances, although declined to specify any of them, according to the newspaper. She also reaffirmed her commitment to narrowing the country’s budget deficit in the Folha interview.

The government “is preparing structural measures that can contribute to the adjustment in the mid-and-long terms,” she told the newspaper.

Efforts by the central bank to meet the 4.5 percent inflation target next year will help consumer price inflation in Brazil converge to international standards, Rousseff said, although she urged the bank to remain attentive to any potential deflation signals. Rousseff said that the intensity of Brazil’s downturn caught her by surprise and that she would do “whatever it takes” to attenuate it.

A spokeswoman for the presidential palace confirmed the accuracy of the content of Folha’s interview.

Reporting by Alexandre Caverni and Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Additional reporting by Asher Levine in São Paulo Editing by W Simon

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