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Rousseff's message deafened by pot-banging, horn-blowing and messages calling for her resignation

Monday, March 9th 2015 - 07:34 UTC
Full article 31 comments
The president did her best during the 16 minute national address but people from their homes expressed their disappointment The president did her best during the 16 minute national address but people from their homes expressed their disappointment

President Dilma Rousseff appealed to Brazilians on Sunday to back fiscal austerity policies, while saying that the belt-tightening will last as long as needed and results will only start showing at the end of this year.

 However her 16 minute speech triggered a thunder of pot-banging, horn-blowing, partial blackouts in certain areas of the cities and messages calling for her resignation, at least in five of the country's main cities, Sao Paulo, Rio do Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia and Curitiba people

With the economy stalled and ties with her coalition allies in disarray due to a corruption probe at state-run oil company Petrobras, Rousseff needs support for unpopular steps to reduce a gaping deficit and save Brazil's investment grade rating on its debt from a downgrade by ratings agencies.

“This is a process that will last as long as necessary to rebalance our economy,” Rousseff said in the nationally televised speech marking International Women's Day. She said she expected the economy to start recovering at the end of this year.

The populist leader said belt-tightening started with cutbacks in government spending and moved on to reducing tax breaks and subsidies for credit.

Rousseff's plans to cut unemployment and pension benefits, however, have met with resistance from within her own Workers' Party. And a decree to raise payroll taxes paid by businesses was thrown out by her main ally in the Senate last week.

That almost unprecedented congressional maneuver was a sign of how fallout from the multibillion-dollar kickback scandal at Petrobras threatens Rousseff's agenda.

The graft scandal and economic slump have hurt Rousseff's popularity. During her speech, residents in some neighborhoods of Brazil's biggest cities booed and banged on pans, calling for her to quit.

Rousseff told Brazilians that temporary sacrifices would be needed to restore the government's overdrawn accounts.

She blamed a global economic slowdown and a severe drought for Brazil's current woes. There was no admission of mistakes in the economic policies of her first term that undermined investor confidence and helped push the world's seventh economy toward recession.

In an attempt to spur investment, Rousseff said her government plans to grant new concessions to build roads, railways, ports and airports this year and enter into new partnerships with the private sector.

Brazil's Supreme Court announced on Friday it will investigate the heads of both houses of Congress and 32 other sitting politicians, all but one from Rousseff's governing coalition, for allegedly receiving money from overpriced contracts with Petrobras.

Rousseff made only one reference to the scandal shaking Brazil's political establishment. She said the “regrettable episode” was the target of a “wide-ranging, independent and rigorous” investigation.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

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  • ilsen

    Is this the beginning of the end for Dilma?
    Has she run out of 'spending other people's money' ?

    Mar 09th, 2015 - 08:06 am 0
  • Troy Tempest

    Dilma is certainly between a rock and a hard place.

    However, one has to praise her for attempting to actually be fiscally responsible - austerity and restraint!

    She could just pront money and jolly them along.

    I imagine, with her big Olympic commitments for infrastructure, the IOC are looking pretty closely. Dilma is painted into a corner. SA pride is at stake, esp. after the calamity of the World Cup - Argentina losing and letting an EU country win.

    Mar 09th, 2015 - 09:31 am 0
  • ilsen

    Dilma's Day is over. This is the beginning of the End for her.

    Anybody else notice that she has gone quiet on her previous support for the Chavistas in Vene-Cuba?
    ooh!
    Why is that do you think?

    Mar 09th, 2015 - 10:26 am 0
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