Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has branded her deputy Michel Temer and House Speaker Eduardo Cunha as "heads of the conspiracy" against her. Temer is set to take the reins if Rousseff loses her impeachment battle.
The two top officials are part of a coup to "destabilize a legitimately elected president," Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday, while meeting teachers and students at the presidential palace in Brasilia.
Rousseff's remarks come after her vice president Michel Temer leaked a recording of a practice speech, allegedly by accident. In the 13-minute audio, Temer delivers an address as if Rousseff had been impeached and he is taking over her office.
On Tuesday, Rousseff said she was "shocked" by the recording, saying it "reveals treason against me and against democracy."
"We are living in strange and worrying times, times of a coup and pretending and treachery," the president added. "Yesterday they used the pretense of a leak to give the order for the conspiracy."
Impeachment via 'perversion of power'
Both Temer and the Lower House speaker Eduardo Cunha are members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, which left the ruling coalition in late March.
Without mentioning them by name, the president described the duo as "heads of the conspiracy" as the Lower House prepares to vote on her impeachment and possibly send the issue to the Senate.
"The mask of the conspirators has fallen," Rousseff said.
"One of them is the not-so invisible hand that's leading this impeachment process, through perversion of power and unimaginable abuses," she added. "The other is rubbing his hands together and is rehearsing the farce of a would-be inauguration speech."
Brazil is facing a deep political crisis, with opposition parties accusing Rousseff of illegally manipulating government accounts. In addition, many allies of the embattled president are suspected of links with the massive Petrobras corruption scandal.
Rousseff and her supporters insist that the accusations are bogus.
Brazil in crisis
If the impeachment initiative went before the Senate, the lawmakers would need to decide whether Rousseff should step down for trial. With Rousseff gone, Vice President Michel Temer would be taking over the top position, at least until the end of the proceedings.
Rousseff's ratings have tumbled amid the political crisis, whose effects have been amplified by deep recession and the spikes in both joblessness and inflation. More than 60 percent of voters support her impeachment, according to recent polls.
However, some 58 percent of Brazilians would also like to see Temer impeached. The House Speaker Cunha is third in line for the presidency.