| SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO May 15 Brazilian President Dilma
Rousseff is running for re-election in October after a first
term marked by slow growth and a difficult relationship with
investors, but also record-low unemployment and falling poverty.
Here are some key moments in her presidency:
Oct. 31 - A career civil servant, Rousseff wins her first
election for public office, a run-off vote for the presidency.
She is helped by enthusiastic support from outgoing President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, himself buoyed by a booming economy
that grew 7.5 percent in 2010.
Jan. 1 - Rousseff takes office. In her inauguration speech,
the 1960s-era leftist guerrilla makes a rare public display of
emotion, crying as she pays tribute to "comrades who fell along
June 7 - Rousseff's powerful chief of staff Antonio Palocci
quits amid questions over his wealth. His departure is a blow to
Rousseff as he was a skilled operator and her strongest link to
business leaders. Six ministers resign over corruption charges
during 2011. Instead of it hurting Rousseff, however, she is
credited with being less tolerant of graft than Lula.
Aug. 31 - With the economy slowing, the central bank cuts
the benchmark Selic interest rate by 50 basis points to 12
percent. The surprise move signals a departure from more
orthodox financial management under Lula. The Selic falls to a
record low of 7.25 percent by late 2012, helping prevent a
recession but also fueling high inflation that continues today.
April 30 - Rousseff slams private banks for not bringing
lending rates down in line with the Selic. It plays well with
many Brazilians but deepens the enmity toward Rousseff in
September - Rousseff announces new tax cuts and a plan to
force electricity companies to cut costs to consumers. She aims
to help businesses but many investors focus on billions of
dollars in losses foisted on electricity firms and complain that
repeated tweaks to taxes and subsidies create uncertainty and
increase the budget deficit.
June - Demonstrations erupt in Sao Paulo over an increase in
bus fares and spread nationwide. Protesters are angry about
corruption, poor public services and the heavy cost of hosting
the 2014 World Cup. On June 20, over 1 million join protests in
dozens of cities. Rousseff's popularity plummets. She announces
a series of proposals including constitutional changes. Most are
never implemented but the protests die down by late July.
Nov. 27 - Central bank raises the Selic back to 10 percent,
depriving Rousseff of what she saw as a signature achievement:
single-digit interest rates.
Feb. 27 - The government announces the economy grew 2.3
percent in 2013, meaning Rousseff will end her first term with
average growth of around 2 percent. That is the weakest economic
performance of any president since Fernando Collor, who was
impeached for alleged corruption in 1992.
March 24 - Standard & Poor's cuts Brazil's sovereign rating
to one notch above speculative territory, citing slow growth, a
rising budget deficit and loans from state-sponsored banks that
"undermined policy credibility and transparency."
(Reporting by Brian Winter; Editing by Kieran Murray)