Leader of the Worker’s Party, Rousseff was met by thousands of cheering supporters in Brazil’s capital as she accepted another term in office
Recently re-elected Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, has been sworn in for a second term. The ceremony took place in the capital Brasilia outside of the Planalto presidential palace.
Thousands of Brazilians gathered to witness the inaugural ceremony of the Brazilian Worker’s Party Leader. Many showed up wearing the traditional party colour red in support of Rousseff.
“I return to this House with a soul full of joy, responsibility, and hope,” she said, “I am happy to have won the challenge and honoured the name of Brazilian women.”
The inaugural ceremony included the official swearing in at the Brasilia Congress building, an open-top car ride in which thousands of supporters were greeted and a fortyminute speech delivered outside the presidential palace.
Rousseff promised a continued focus on social welfare programs and a special interest in education development in her coming term.
“I would now announce the new motto of my government … it reflects clearly what will become our top priority and signals to which sector should converge the efforts of all areas of government. Our motto is: Brazil, a country of education.”
Ms. Rousseff also vowed to extend an on-going investigation into the corruption scandal at Brazilian Oil Giant Petrobras.
The ceremony comes barely a day after millions of Brazilians around the country, notably on the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, rung in the New Year with tremendous firework displays and parties. With frequent references to the accomplishments of her predecessor and former colleague, Lula Da Silva, Rousseff also spoke about her own successes.
“From the extraordinary work undertaken by the government of President Lula, continued by us, we now have the first generation of Brazilians who do not experience the tragedy of hunger. We have rescued 36 million from extreme poverty and 22 million just in my first term,” she said.
She also communicated the need to continue the fight in upholding human rights and individual freedoms for all.
Individual freedom for some Brazilians is seemingly unattainable. Some critics point to the relative trend toward wealth among white Brazilians as proof that racial inequality exists in Brazil. Julia Carneiro of BBC Brazil explains, “Half of Brazil’s population is of African descent, but the country’s public universities tend to reflect the Brazilian upper classes – who are mostly white.”
The trend represents for many in Brazil an unfair advantage for those of white skin colour.
The Brazilian Government has responded in the past by introducing the infamous quota system aimed at standardizing the amount of mixed race and Afro-Brazilian students enrolled at public universities.
However, this system has not existed without public backlash. “This is bad for the future of Brazil, because the main objective of universities… is to achieve quality,” says Senior Administrative Officer Antonio Freitas of the prestigious university Getulio Vargas Foundation. “Eventually you may not have the most qualified people in engineering, in medical school, in the most challenging areas which Brazil needs to develop.”
These are areas in which Dilma Rousseff aims to gain progress. Her ability to do so as well as restore public confidence in the wake of the Petrobras corruption scandal may prove defining for the popular leader.