Mr. Rebates

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No surprises this time

Brazil's new Female President has some tough shoes to fill, Ms.Dilma Rousseff has never help any political office and will be taking over from a very successful Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva the present President of Brazil, she was chosen and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva successor. 

WITH 93% of the votes for president counted, Dilma Rousseff, the candidate of the ruling Workers’ Party and the chosen successor of the current president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has defeated José Serra of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy by 55.5% to 45.5%. Ms Rousseff had never before run for elected office. Her entire political life had been behind the scenes. Little was known of either her politics or her personality. Mr Serra was vastly more experienced and better known. But Lula campaigned beside Ms Rousseff, toured the country with her and was at least as visible in her television advertising as she was. Asked to choose between continuity and experience, Brazilians chose continuity.

So on January 1st Ms Rousseff will become Brazil’s next president, and its first female one. In the end, it was the poor and those in the less-developed northern regions who swung it her way. Richer and better-educated folk preferred Mr Serra, but Brazil has fewer of them.

Ms Rousseff now has some time before she must put together a government—but also the freedom to announce important appointments as soon as she wishes. Her choice of foreign minister will be a clue to whether she intends to rein back on Lula’s foreign-policy adventurism. And her pick for finance minister will show whether she is serious about getting public spending back under control. Despite a strong economy and galloping tax receipts, the government’s spending is rising even faster than its income. Under Lula, Brazil’s central bank was granted de facto independence over monetary policy, which means high interest rates to counter the government’s fiscal laxness—one of the root causes of Brazil’s over-valued currency. A strong, fiscally conservative appointment to the bank’s governership would reassure investors that the new president does not plan to intervene directly to push rates down.

Back in June, when campaigning kicked off, Lula told the nation that without him there would be a void on the ballot papers. He has stood in every presidential election since 1989. To fill that void, he said, he planned to change his name to Dilma Rousseff and run again. Brazilians will soon find out whether Ms Rousseff is her own woman, or just Lula in lipstick.

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