Dilma’s Electoral Victory in Brazil Should Be No Surprise After Economic and Social Gains Under PT Governments, CEPR Co-Director Says

Washington, D.C.- Dilma Rousseff’s victory in presidential elections no doubt signals a desire from voters to see the past decade’s economic and social gains continue, Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today. With 98 percent of the votes counted, the Workers Party’s (PT) Rousseff was declared the winner with 51.4 percent of the vote over challenger Aécio Neves of the Social Democrats (PSDB), who had 48.5 percent.

“It really should never have been close,” Weisbrot said. “The Workers Party governments have delivered on clear economic and social gains since they first came to power in 2003, and voters apparently want those gains to continue. Even with the recent recession, and taking into account the financial crisis and Global Recession of 2008-2009, there has been average annual per capita GDP economic growth three times that of the previous PSDB administration.

“Poverty has been greatly reduced; 31.5 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty as poverty has been lowered by over 55 percent and extreme poverty by 65 percent. Inequality has decreased while the minimum wage has been nearly doubled and social spending has consistently increased.”

Weisbrot noted that Aécio Neves, by contrast, was proposing economic policies that would have likely led to slower economic growth and diminished economic and social gains. Neves and his economic coordinator, Arminio Fraga, have talked about budget cuts, lowering the inflation target, and – Weisbrot noted – presumably raising interest rates, which would slow growth. They have also called for the Central Bank – which Fraga used to head – to be more independent.

“Neves’ campaign suggested a return to the past, to the failed economic policies of the Cardoso years,” Weisbrot said.