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  • Demonstrators carry a Brazilian national flag as they attend a protest against Brazil's President Michel Temer in Rio de Janeiro.

    Demonstrators carry a Brazilian national flag as they attend a protest against Brazil's President Michel Temer in Rio de Janeiro. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 May 2017

Temer faces the strongest protests and rejection since he was appointed president.

Brazilian President Michel Temer said he will not step down even if he is formally indicted by the Supreme Court amid a corruption scandal and large demonstrations calling for his resignation.

Temer Defies Calls to Step Down over Wiretap Scandal

"I will not resign. Oust me if you want, but if I stepped down, I would be admitting guilt," said Temer in an interview with Brazil's Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.

The comments came after a recording released last week caught Temer on tape giving his blessing for bribes to keep a key witness, jailed former lawmaker Eduardo Cunha, quiet while he was being investigated in the country's largest corruption investigation, Operation Car Wash.

Temer said the recording wasn't proof of wrongdoing. He said that he didn't report the bribery references to authorities because he did not believe them.

The wiretap audio is the most damning scandal to rock Temer's corruption-plagued government since it was installed last year. Since its release protests have taken place in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities, with thousands marching to demand the president's resignation. Protesters were seen chanting and waving banners reading "Temer Out!"

The Supreme Court is expected to decide on Wednesday whether to suspend the investigation at Temer's request until it can be determined if the recording was manipulated to implicate him.

Ex-President Dilma Rousseff Says Brazil Needs Elections, Now

The Brazilian Bar Association said it would file an impeachment motion against President Temer in the Congress, and last week Globo, the country's largest media conglomerate, urged Temer to resign in a newspaper editorial. 

Temer told the newspaper he is "absolutely" sure that he is capable of finishing his term in 2018 and will continue to push forward two controversial reforms on labor and social security.

"I will demonstrate political strength in coming weeks precisely by putting important bills to vote," Temer told newspaper Folha. "I am not doomed."

Temer took office after the parliamentary coup against Dilma Rousseff, promoted by Cunha, but he has faced a strong rejection from social organizations who have demanded elections.

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