TIMELINE-Key moments in Rousseff's presidency in Brazil

by Reuters
Thursday, 15 May 2014 12:25 GMT

By Brian Winter

SAO PAULO, May 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is running for re-election in October after a first term marked by slow growth and a difficult relationship with investors, but also record-low unemployment and falling poverty.

Here are some key moments in her presidency:


Oct. 31 - A career civil servant, Rousseff wins her first election for public office, a run-off vote for the presidency. She is helped by enthusiastic support from outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, himself buoyed by a booming economy that grew 7.5 percent in 2010.


Jan. 1 - Rousseff takes office. In her inauguration speech, the 1960s-era leftist guerrilla makes a rare public display of emotion, crying as she pays tribute to "comrades who fell along the way."

June 7 - Rousseff's powerful chief of staff Antonio Palocci quits amid questions over his wealth. His departure is a blow to Rousseff as he was a skilled operator and her strongest link to business leaders. Six ministers resign over corruption charges during 2011. Instead of it hurting Rousseff, however, she is credited with being less tolerant of graft than Lula.

Aug. 31 - With the economy slowing, the central bank cuts the benchmark Selic interest rate by 50 basis points to 12 percent. The surprise move signals a departure from more orthodox financial management under Lula. The Selic falls to a record low of 7.25 percent by late 2012, helping prevent a recession but also fueling high inflation that continues today.


April 30 - Rousseff slams private banks for not bringing lending rates down in line with the Selic. It plays well with many Brazilians but deepens the enmity toward Rousseff in financial circles.

September - Rousseff announces new tax cuts and a plan to force electricity companies to cut costs to consumers. She aims to help businesses but many investors focus on billions of dollars in losses foisted on electricity firms and complain that repeated tweaks to taxes and subsidies create uncertainty and increase the budget deficit.


June - Demonstrations erupt in Sao Paulo over an increase in bus fares and spread nationwide. Protesters are angry about corruption, poor public services and the heavy cost of hosting the 2014 World Cup. On June 20, over 1 million join protests in dozens of cities. Rousseff's popularity plummets. She announces a series of proposals including constitutional changes. Most are never implemented but the protests die down by late July.

Nov. 27 - Central bank raises the Selic back to 10 percent, depriving Rousseff of what she saw as a signature achievement: single-digit interest rates.


Feb. 27 - The government announces the economy grew 2.3 percent in 2013, meaning Rousseff will end her first term with average growth of around 2 percent. That is the weakest economic performance of any president since Fernando Collor, who was impeached for alleged corruption in 1992.

March 24 - Standard & Poor's cuts Brazil's sovereign rating to one notch above speculative territory, citing slow growth, a rising budget deficit and loans from state-sponsored banks that "undermined policy credibility and transparency." (Reporting by Brian Winter; Editing by Kieran Murray)

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