Dilma’s bipolar disorder

Dilma Rousseff, the recently re-elected President of Brazil, has yet again contradicted points she made in her campaign. Instead of inclining towards a more left-wing Finance Minister as promised, Rousseff recently appointed Joaquim Levy, a far-right wing economist, to take the role.

A naval engineer with a great resume for a finance minister, Levy studied at the University of Chicago, worked as a director at Bradesco bank, and has glowing recommendations. Yet the irony of his appointment starts when you look at his associates. One of his best friends is Armínio Fraga, who was suggested would become Finance Minister if Aécio Neves had been elected President. At certain points in the 2014 election, Levy was heavily linked to Neves’ financial sector. Besides hiring someone who has strong links to the political opposition, Rousseff’s Workers’ Party bombarded Levy with criticism during the campaign, something they now call “friendly fire.” Levy’s first connection to the Workers’ Party may have come in 2009 when he had been suggested by former President Lula to help Sérgio Cabral, an ex-governor of Rio de Janeiro State who was losing votes due to a corruption scandal.

Rousseff’s choice has caused a lot of controversy. People wonder how this will help to stabilize the economy if she appointed someone she previously opposed. In previous statements, she regarded Levy’s ideas as rudimentary, not suitable for the Brazilian economy. Most right-wingers are praising her decision, and the stock market has responded with a 2% increase. But what about her voters? Rousseff left me dumbfounded with her choice.

Rousseff’s decision to appoint Levy as minister has elicited a lot of speculation. However, I remain optimistic about Levy’s impact in the Brazilian economy, especially after his decision to focus on targeting public debt, a huge concern for Brazil, since most politicians are spending more than they should. I would like to ask Dilma supporters to stay patient and optimistic about her decision, even though it might seem contradictory to choose a right-winger for a left-wing government. And let us also look on the bright side: at least she did not fulfill her promise to keep Guido Mantega as Finance Minister of Brazil.