Brazil's Rousseff re-elected by grateful working-class, country divided

lunes 27 de octubre de 2014 02:00 GYT
 

By Paulo Prada

SAO PAULO Oct 27 (Reuters) - Despite opposition from nearly half of Brazil's voters, leftist President Dilma Rousseff won re-election on Sunday and will have another four years to try to revive growth in a once-booming economy gone stagnant.

The 66-year-old Rousseff, who was a Marxist guerrilla in her youth, overcame growing dissatisfaction with the economy, poor public services and corruption to narrowly clinch a second term for herself and the fourth in a row for her Workers' Party.

After a bitter, unpredictable campaign that pitted poorer Brazilians grateful for government anti-poverty programs against those exasperated with a stalled economy, Rousseff must now seek to continue flagship social services even as she tweaks economic policies to restore growth.

Speaking to a relieved crowd of supporters on Sunday night in Brasilia, the capital, Rousseff acknowledged the close race and the call for change expressed by many voters.

"I know that I am being sent back to the presidency to make the big changes that Brazilian society demands," she said after winning the runoff election with 51.6 percent support.

Her slim, three-point margin over centrist candidate Aecio Neves came largely thanks to gains against inequality and poverty since the Workers' Party first came to power in 2003.

Using the fruits of a commodity-fueled economic boom in the last decade, Brazil's government expanded welfare programs that helped lift more than 40 million people from poverty despite the current economic woes.

The "Brazilian model" has been adopted by center-left parties across Latin America and Rousseff's victory, however narrow, is a blow for conservatives in the region.   Continuación...