Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Where will Dilma take Brazil?

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on November 5, 2010

by Peter Hakim for Los Angeles Times/Inter-American Dialogue,November 5th, 2010.

Unlike Americans, Brazilians believe their country is headed in the right direction — and voted to keep it on course. That was the central message of Dilma Rousseff‘s triumph in Sunday’s election in Brazil. Dilma, as she is universally called, was the chief of staff and handpicked successor of current Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who leaves office after two terms with an 80% approval rating. He will be a hard act to follow, even for Dilma, who played a crucial part in his accomplishments.

Securing the continuity Brazilians want is no simple task. Just sticking with Lula-era policies will not be enough. Sustaining Brazil’s trajectory of success will require fresh approaches to deal with an array of long-standing, stubborn problems that no Brazilian government has managed to solve. And no matter how bright the future looks now, new ideas will be needed as conditions change and unexpected challenges emerge.

Brazil today is enjoying its best economic run since the 1970s. The economy has grown steadily during Lula’s eight years in office, and poverty has diminished by 25%. The global financial crisis that wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy was hardly felt in Brazil. Unemployment is at a record low. For the first time ever, Brazil’s middle class outnumbers its poor. Recent petroleum discoveries promise to turn already energy self-sufficient Brazil into one of the world’s giant oil exporters.(continue reading… )

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