Brazil: Rousseff Expands Welfare Program to Maintain Lead in Presidential Run


EspañolPresident Dilma Rousseff announced last night a 10 percent increase for the government’s flagship welfare plan, Bolsa Familia, and a reduced income tax burden for most workers, in an attempt to contain the administration’s ever-decreasing popularity as showed by recent surveys. Rousseff also promised an eventual minimum wage raise and took the opportunity to officially announce her reelection race.

In a live TV speech on the eve of Labor Day, Rousseff stood by policies intended to guarantee job security and a stable purchasing power for low and middle class workers. The measures include a 10 percent boost in an anti-poverty stipend program covering 36 million Brazilians, the adjustment of the minimum wage above the annual inflation target, and a 4.5 percent increase in income bands used to calculate taxes, meaning most workers will end up paying less.

The president also defended herself against accusations surrounding an embezzlement scandal linked to her former role as an administrator in the state oil company Petrobras.

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Concerns about high inflation, the government’s inability to deal with preparations for the Soccer World Cup, and corruption in the ruling Workers Party (PT) have damaged whatever support Rousseff had from independent voters. There is now an increased likelihood that rival candidates will force her to compete for the presidency in a runoff in the October 5 general elections.

Source: O Globo.

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