Encylopedia Britannica, 02/01/2013
By the end of 2012, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first woman president, had achieved a remarkable political feat. Despite Brazil’s declining GDP growth in the first two years of her government (from 7.5% in 2010 to 2.7% in 2011 to about 1% projected for 2012) and failed attempts to stimulate the economy, she had a better approval rating than that of her popular predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, at the same point in his first presidential term. Rousseff’s remarkable approval rating of nearly 62% reflected Brazilians’ satisfaction with the hardworking style and no-nonsense attitude she demonstrated in dealing with allegations of corruption, including her firing of no fewer than six ministers that she had inherited from Lula. Key to the popularity of this uncharismatic economist serving in her first elected office was the outcome of a series of stimulus measures initiated by her administration. It adopted those measures to increase liquidity in the economy, ease credit for individuals, reduce domestic interest rates (from 12.5% in 2011 to 7.25% in October 2012), and temporarily lower taxes on major consumer products (such as automobiles) so as to maintain both nearly full employment and public confidence despite a disappointing economic performance at home and an increasingly problematic global outlook.