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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The trip by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff to Congress for the start of the legislative year caused commotion, as expected, on Tuesday, with part of Congressional representatives defending the President and another part rejecting the leader.

Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, speaks in front of Congressional representatives during opening session
Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, speaks in front of Congressional representatives during the opening session of 2016 on Tuesday, photo by Fabio Pozzebom/Agencia Brasil.

Tension in congress came to a head when President Rousseff defended the re-creation of the CPMF tax (tax over financial transactions) as the only way to regain the country’s fiscal balance in the short-term. The Rousseff administration has repeatedly stated that the tax is temporary and will be withdrawn when the economic crisis has passed.

Government backers commended the President’s participation at the opening of the legislative year, stating that this represented a change in the relationship between the Executive and Congress.

“Her presence here is justified and allows us to start our work with an agenda that, despite the differences inherent to a democracy, is of the interest of the Brazilian people,” PT party leader at the Chamber of Deputies, Afonso Florence was quoted as saying by Agencia Brasil.

According to Senator Blairo Maggi, also a government ally, part of the economic and political crisis faced by the country is due to the lack of confidence in the Administration, and that Rousseff’s visit may represent a return of some of that confidence. “This gesture by the President of coming here and trying to clear up a few things may create a more favorable environment,” said the senator.

The opposition, however, criticized the visit, stating that the President’s presence was just ‘a show’. “Not one word in relation to the errors committed by the government in its macroeconomic policy conduction last year, not a word on the set of allegations hanging over the government,” said Senator Aecio Neves, who ran against President Rousseff during the 2014 elections.

Opposition legislators argue that the country’s tax burden is already one of the highest in the world, with some opposition representatives booing the President during her speech.

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