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Analysis: Reelected, President Dilma Rousseff Will Face Turbulence Ahead

10/26/2014 - 22h10

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IGOR GIELOW
BRASÍLIA BUREAU DIRECTOR

The tough victory that reappointed Dilma Rousseff as president of the republic will culminate in a tense dynamic between the woman in charge and those who support her.

The most obvious case is that of the PT, the party to which she only joined in 2000 and where she was never seen as the perfect fit.

Led by campaign strategist João Santana, Dilma ran her campaign based less on her political godfather, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, than she did in 2010, when he was the creator and she was the creature in the election.

She made reckless decisions, the latest being confronting "Veja" magazine for printing the testimony of Alberto Youssef, who cites both Dilma and Lula as connoisseurs of the Petrobras corruption scandal.

If on one hand it showed a fast reaction, on the other it guaranteed visibility for the issue during the second turn of voting for the election.

And that's without mentioning the debate on Globo and Saturday's coverage preceding the election. She even had to deal with rumor-mongering usually associated with her supporters, which spread the hoax of Youssef's supposed death by poisoning.

Like the episode in March when she wanted to spread the blame around for the purchase of the Pasadena refinery, one of the elements of the Petrobras scandal, which ended up shooting her in the foot.

But in the end, Dilma was elected, which should increase her certainty that she did everything right. Just like the economy, the president is refractory to any criticism and always has an answer at the tip of her tongue for anyone who mentions any mistakes made.

This should enhance the Dilmista government group, led by Aloizio Mercadante (PT). The PT electoral disaster in São Paulo fell in the lap of those around Lula and the former president himself, who for the first time in years is having his "electoral magic" contested.

His "posts" didn't win the election in any state, and the main PT government, in Minas Gerais, will be led by a Dilmista, Fernando Pimentel.

But, as an absolutist state, the PT is Lula. He should try to influence more, or at least expose his ideas further, during Dilma's second term. And this would lead to a natural tension, although both interlocutors are always ready to deny any chance of disruption.

The problem for PT is called Petrobras. If the scandal grows to the size that man predict in Brasília, with the direct implication of Lula and Dilma or not, the party would fall with an even harder thud than it did during the mensalão scandal.

New leadership, like Pimentel or former Bahia governor Jaques Wagner, should excel - as long as they're not involved in the complaints. The São Paulo PT group, which surrounds Lula, tends to lose strength.

Because the case involves the great PMDB and weighty allies like the PP, the allied base could suffer casualties, with members of Congress facing justice. This, plus the fragmentation that came out of the Oct. 5 polls, create the perfect broth for an administration marked by agreements.

This troubled political framework will meet the probable storm that hit the stock market on Monday (27). The market does not approve of the Dilma government, and within the government there are people working with a backdrop of extreme volatility until the end of the year, as the dollar could hit R$ 3.

If this is part of the natural sieve of the market, the fact is that a very high dollar has inflationary impact. As there are several adjustments and serious problems on the government's back, the "perfect storm" that had been planned for 2014 may reach its peak next year.

In an adverse scenario, there is the fear that the polarization that reached paroxysm on social media would not only reach these networks, influencing the urban voter, but would also get to real life. As the most severe cases were in their own campaigns, however, this fear does not seem very justifiable.

Among the PT, there is the hope that the difficult victory over Aécio will bring restraint to Dilma, and that she will hear the party more. Except that, among many members of her entourage, the expectation is the opposite. There will be turbulent days for the first woman reelected as president of Brazil.

Translated by JILL LANGLOIS

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