Brasilia, May 14: Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said here on Friday the country and its democracy faced grave risks under the leadership of an "illegitimate government" headed by her former vice president, Michel Temer.
"I don't know if the risk exists now, at this moment. But I think that an illegitimate government will always require illegitimate mechanisms for remaining in power," Rousseff told foreign correspondents at the Alvorada Palace, the president's official residence, a day after the Senate voted to put her on trial for allegedly breaking budget laws.
Rousseff will be suspended from office for the duration of the trial -- a maximum of 180 days.
If she is convicted by a two-thirds vote in the Senate, considered highly likely given the upper house's 55-22 vote in favour of the impeachment trial, then Temer, a former ally turned foe, will serve out the rest of her term, which is due to expire on January 1, 2019.
Rousseff vowed, however, during Friday's press conference to prove her innocence during the trial and return to power.
Referring to Temer's administration, Rousseff said that based on his initial pronouncements it would be "laissez-faire with respect to the economy and conservative in social and cultural matters".
Noting that all 24 cabinet members unveiled by Temer on Thursday are white men, she also said it was regrettable that for the first time in many years "there are no women or blacks in the Brazilian government".
"There's a problem of representation," particularly with respect to women, who make up more than 50 percent of Brazil's population, she added.
"Inequality in Brazil is a black, female, youth and also, obviously, a male (problem), but blacks and women are essential if we want to build a country from the social, cultural and human rights standpoint."