Brazil's ousted President Dilma Rousseff vowed that the country will go back to a democratic path in 2018 after democracy suffered a setback last year with the impeachment process against her, widely condemned as a parliamentary coup.
"Brazil has an appointment with democracy in 2018. This is inevitable to build a new legitimacy, to recover conditions, to grow, develop and get out of the crisis," said Rousseff during a speech at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during a conference on Brazil organized by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
During her speech, she also criticized Brazil's unelected president, Michel Temer, whom she blamed for ushering in the "hegemony of the most radical right in Brazil."
She said that former President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, her close ally and predecessor, has great chances of returning to the country's top office in 2018.
Rousseff warned of a possibility that right-wing political power in the country would impede Lula's candidacy by trying to detain him or not allowing him to run for president and called on authorities not to "change the rules during the game."
"He may even lose the election. There is no shame in losing an electoral dispute for those with democratic values. What you can't do is avoid a competition," said Rousseff.
Lula, from the Workers' Party, or PT in its Portuguese abbreviation, leads the polls for the 2018 race for the seat in the Planalto Palace, but he has also been accused on several occasions of being part of the largest corruption scandal in the country involving the state-run oil company Petrobras. He has denied the allegations, which supports argue are part of a smear campaign to discredit him and sabotage his candidacy for 2018.
Rousseff's speech comes after Lula criticized collusion between the central corruption investigations into the Petrobras case, known as Operation Car Wash, and the country's large corporate media conglomerates, highlighting how he was targeted and labeled as guilty in the media without due process, influencing public opinion.
This week, the judge overseeing Operation Car Wash, Sergio Moro, and prosecutor coordinator Deltan Dallagnol admitted that the success of the investigations is based more on popular pressure than on factual evidence.
According to Lula, both authorities said the support of what they call "public opinion" in media is fundamental to the case. He argued that in a country like Brazil, where the media is heavily concentrated in a few powerful hands, this is serious.
Lula said that according to the Criminal Procedure Code, Moro should be impartial with the investigation team and defense lawyers, but Dallagnol has said that he and Moro, who have worked in several cases together, are from the "same team."
According to Judge Guilherme de Souza Nucci, "when a task force, whatever it may be, passes a bill, invades the field of unlawfulness, practices abuse of authority and begins to rely on popular support to hold on, there is something wrong."
WATCH: teleSUR exclusive interview with Lula