BRASILIA, Brazil: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ordered a government reshuffle Friday (Saturday in Manila), axing eight ministries in what was announced as a cost-cutting measure but seemed aimed at ending political paralysis and threats of impeachment.
At a time of recession, a massive corruption scandal and political turmoil, Rousseff said the shakeup would help put the world’s seventh biggest economy and Latin America’s largest country back on track.
The reshuffle aims “to guarantee the political stability of the country which is needed to renew growth and strengthen relations between the parties and members of parliament who support the government,” Rousseff, 67, said in the capital Brasilia.
Rousseff, who was narrowly elected last year to a second term, has already turned into a lame duck president, struggling to pass budget cuts and tax increases that her government says are necessary to help the floundering economy recover.
With the corruption scandal centered on state oil company Petrobras badly tainting Rousseff’s Workers’ Party, the president has seen her popularity ratings sink to 10 percent and faced impeachment threats in Congress, even from within her shaky ruling coalition.
The government reshuffle appeared aimed above all at shoring up that power base by placating rivals.
“Coalition governments need support from Congress. We live in a democracy,” she said.
“It’s Congress, elected by the Brazilian people, that my government must have a dialog with on getting support for ways and laws to speed up the exit from the crisis,” she said.