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New Brazil president tells UN he represents democracy

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: President of Brazil Michel Temer addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2016 in New York City. According to the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, the most pressing matter to be discussed at the General Assembly is the world's refugee crisis.   Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 20: President of Brazil Michel Temer addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2016 in New York City. According to the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, the most pressing matter to be discussed at the General Assembly is the world’s refugee crisis. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, told the United Nations on Tuesday that his controversial ascent showed the triumph of democracy.

Temer took office on August 31 after the impeachment over accounting irregularities of elected president Dilma Rousseff, whose supporters said Brazil’s right-wing forces had staged a bloodless coup.

But Temer, addressing the UN General Assembly, said that the impeachment took place “with the most absolute respect of the constitutional order.”

The move showed the world “there can be no democracy without the rule of law with the standards applicable to all, even the most powerful,” he said.

“Isolated wills do not prevail, but rather the will of institutions, under the careful oversight of a pluralistic society and a totally free press,” he said.

Temer said that he was committed to a “path of fiscal responsibility and social responsibility” for Brazil, whose once steady economic growth rates have been whittled by softening prices for its commodity exports.

As expected, he said that Brazil on Wednesday would become the latest major economy to ratify the Paris accord on climate change, bringing the agreement closer to coming into force.

Brazil, one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, “is an environmental powerhouse, one that has an uncompromising commitment to the environment,” Temer said.

Temer, who is from the center-right, was vice president to Rousseff but turned on Brazil’s first woman leader amid her political woes.

After Rousseff’s ouster, Brazilian prosecutors filed corruption charges against her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, accusing him of a pay-to-play scheme at state oil company Petrobras.

The leftist icon accused Brazilian elites of trumping up charges to destroy him politically ahead of 2018 elections.



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