Dilma Rousseff’s popularity is at an all-time low. Among other issues, the Brazilian president is navigating a huge corruption investigation, rising energy and food prices, severe drought in parts of the country and shaky relations within the government.
The scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras looks set to seriously damage her reputation. While Rousseff is not implicated at the moment, on Friday (March 6), Brazil’s Supreme Court announced all but one member of her ruling coalition are under investigation for allegedly receiving money from overpriced contracts with the firm.
Rousseff was chairwoman of Petrobras between 2003 and 2010, leading some to suggest she must have been aware of any corruption taking place within the company.
Speaking on International Women’s Day, the head of state asked Brazilians to be patient:
“Brazil has learnt to practice social justice in favour of the poorest, as well as apply the harsh hand of justice against the corrupt,” she said. “This is what has been happening in the vast and rigorous investigation of the regrettable episodes concerning Petrobras… You have every right to get irritated and be worried, but I ask for patience and understanding because this situation is transitory.”
According to the leftist leader, the solution to Brazil’s economic standstill lies in fiscal austerity policies, which she asked the population to back.
But there have been nationwide protests about the huge sums of money spent on the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.
Many believe the money would have been better spent on improved housing, education, health and public transport, leading to a rally being organised on March 15, 2015, to call for the president’s impeachment.