SAO PAULO, July 6 Brazil's President Dilma
Rousseff firmly denied on Saturday any plans to shake up her
Cabinet, following the country's largest protests in 20 years.
In a written statement, she called talk of ministerial
change "unfounded speculation" and reiterated a plan developed
with state governors and local mayors to address concerns raised
last month in cities across Latin America's largest economy.
More than 1 million people took to the streets at the peak
of the demonstrations, which were fueled by frustration with
deplorable health, education and public transportation services,
a high cost of living, and outrage at the $14 billion Brazil
will spend to host the 2014 World Cup.
In response, Rousseff, a pragmatic leftist who was once
jailed for conspiring against Brazil's military dictatorship,
laid out proposals to expand public services while ensuring
fiscal responsibility, crack down on corruption and hold a
non-binding national vote, or plebiscite, to see what other
changes Brazilians wanted.
But many doubt she can deliver on the plebiscite before
presidential election next year. The latest survey by pollster
Datafolha showed her approval ratings fell by 27 percentage
points in three weeks, a sign the wave of discontent poses a
serious threat to her likely re-election bid.
A presidential spokesman told Reuters on June 25 that
Rousseff would stand by Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who has
been in office for more than seven years, denying rumors he
would take the fall after the protests.