Brazil’s Rousseff Weathers the Storm, For Now

Brazil’s Rousseff Weathers the Storm, For Now

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has had a rocky seven months in office. Having already shuffled her cabinet three times, twice due to corruption scandals, Rousseff is now facing a brewing controversy in the Tourism Ministry that has the potential to force a fourth cabinet change.

One might expect the shaky start to undermine Rousseff's credibility, but so far she has managed to weather the storm. Despite her lack of charisma, her inexperience as a politician and a cabinet tainted by corruption allegations, she remains popular. Her approval rating stands at 67 percent, according to a poll by Brazilian firm IBOPE reported last week -- a strong showing, even it has dropped from 73 percent in March. Approval of her government's performance is significantly lower, at 48 percent. Nevertheless, that figure is higher than that of her two immediate predecessors after six months in office.

But while the popularity of Rousseff's government is reasonably secure for now, the cabinet changes threaten to undermine Rousseff's ability to push her agenda through Congress. "The problem for a president in Brazil comes from the coalition that supports him or her. It doesn't come from the opposition," said Paulo Sotero of the Wilson Center for Scholars' Brazil Institute in a telephone interview.

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