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Dilma's Dilemma
Mutiny Spells Trouble for Rousseff

Just when it looked like Brazil’s economic woes couldn’t get any worse, the country’s unpopular president Dilma Rousseff now faces a mutinous Congress. Bloomberg reports that the lower house is pushing spending increases even as Rousseff’s government is trying to stave off economic crisis by keeping spending down:

The lower house approved in a first round vote a constitutional amendment by 445 against 16 votes granting salary increases to police chiefs, prosecutors and government attorneys. The bill still needs to pass a second round vote before going to the Senate.

Earlier, leaders of the Brazilian Labor Party and the Democratic Labor Party, or PTB and PDT, said they would act independently and no longer participate in meetings of the ruling coalition. The parties together have 44 out of 513 seats in the Chamber.

This Thursday a Datafolha poll showed Rousseff’s popularity fell to the lowest on record for a Brazilian president. Support for the start of impeachment proceedings increased, the poll published by Folha de S. Paulo shows.

The initiative comes as the real drops to a 12-year and local bond yields soar, and that economic context us what makes the political fragmentation, exacerbated by the vote, so dangerous. The Brazilian political establishment is enraged by the spreading corruption investigation linked to the Petrobras debacle, and, out of a mix of fury and fear, leading politicians are now blocking efforts to stop their country’s economic nosedive. At a time when the ship is heading for the rocks, a riot has broken out on the poop deck. This does not bode well for Brazil.

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  • JR

    Mmmmkay, class, what is the lesson of the day? Socialism is bad, mmmmmmkay. Don’t do socialism. Well, that finishes my introduction. Are there any questions, mmmkay?

  • Andrew Allison

    “The Brazilian political establishment is enraged by the spreading corruption investigation linked to the Petrobras debacle, . . .”? They might, just possibly, be enraged that Rousseff’s blatant corruption has exposed the corruption of the Brazilian Political establishment, but more likely, they’re bribing the legal establishment not to look too closely at their own.

  • Kevin

    In some ways she is a victim of circumstances. Everyone knows the entire governing system in Brazil is deeply corrupt. She just happened to be in charge when the commodity boom ended. Sure she’s utterly corrupt – but so will be whoever replaces her. Her economic policies are absurd, but so will be virtually any economic policies coming out of that political system. So yes, if there is justice she should be impeached, indicted and convicted – but that doesn’t mean whoever follows won’t be almost as bad or even worse. Even if she has been a saint and an economic prodigy the combination of Brazil’s utter corruption and the ending of the commodity boom was going to bring down the curtain. Her being an incompetent and corrupt hack was just icing on a cake baked long ago.

  • tarentius

    Brazil is not a friend or ally of the United States and, especially under Lula and Dilma, two leftist Castroites, has opposed the United States at every level and allied itself with Russia and China in opposition to American foreign policy. Lest we forget Dilma spent $1 billion building a port for Castro.
    And let us not assume that the opposition would be any more friendly to the United States and its objectives. Anti-Americanism is bred into the Brazilian establishment.
    May Brazil sink even further into the abyss where it belongs.

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