Brazil's Rousseff undone by hubris, economic missteps
By Brad Brooks and Paulo Prada
BRASILIA May 10 (Reuters) - Minutes after taking her oath of office in 2011, President Dilma Rousseff stood before Congress and pledged to end the dirty back-room deals and kickback schemes at the heart of Brazilian politics.
"Corruption will be combated ceaselessly, and the entities that control and investigate these matters will have my full backing," she vowed.
For a time, it seemed she would make good on her promise. In her first year, she forced out seven cabinet ministers tainted by accusations of wrongdoing and had the highest approval rating of any president since Brazil's return to democracy in 1985.
Yet five years on, amid the worst recession since the 1930s, Rousseff will be stripped of office if the Senate, as expected, votes on Wednesday to put her on trial for breaking budgetary laws.
Although she faces no allegations of personal enrichment, Rousseff also stands accused by Brazil's public prosecutor of obstructing a huge corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras, Brazil's biggest-ever scandal.
She chaired the board of Petrobras from 2003 to 2010, when the worst of the corruption was taking place.
Rousseff denies any wrongdoing and says she is the victim of a 'coup.' But outrage over the recession and the Petrobras scandal turned most Brazilians against her, motivating opposition efforts to unseat her.
In explaining what went wrong, former ministers, aides and congressmen point to Rousseff's stubbornness, economic mismanagement and a tendency toward self-isolation. Combined, those traits led her to rebuff advice that might have averted recession and saved her politically. Continuación...