As the Brazilian economy tanks and her poll numbers continue to plummet, Dilma Rousseff seems focused on only one goal: staying in office. To that end, she is virtually ceding control over the policy process, giving key positions to the PMDB and to people associated with her predecessor, Lula Inácio Lula da Silva. Folha de Sao Paolo has the story:
President Rousseff has bowed to pressure from her predecessor…as well as the PMDB, and decided to replace her Chief-of-Staff Aloizio Mercadante with Jaques Wagner, the current Defense minister.
This change, alongside Rousseff giving the PMDB control of seven ministries, up from six, should guarantee the support of at least 50 of the PMDB’s 66 deputies, thus preventing the opening of a process of impeachment against the President.
She needs at least 172 deputies onside to block an impeachment request, which needs 342 votes in Congress out of a possible 513 to pass.
Though Rousseff hopes these measures will give her the support of enough deputies in parliament to block the start of impeachment proceedings, the question remains how a weak government and unpopular president can deal with both the worst corruption scandal in the history of Brazil and a failing economy. Although intervention by the central bank has brought it off its lows of around 4.5 to the dollar, the Brazilian real remains one of the worst-performing currencies in the world. Inflationary pressures are building, and the commodity price slump continues to affect the price Brazil gets for its exports.
It isn’t a pretty picture, and at the moment there is not much hope for improvement. Expect both the economy and the political situation to get worse before we see any signs that they might get better.