Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Curmudgeon has suggested several times that Dilma should resign. The news this week shows that in one sense of the word, she has in effect resigned. While she has not resigned her office, she has resigned herself to playing only a minor role in running the country.

Michael Royster, aka The Curmudgeon.
Michael Royster, aka The Curmudgeon.

President Dilma has finally capitulated to her erstwhile puppet master Lula. She has replaced ministers whom she trusted implicitly and upon whom she relied heavily, but who displeased Lula. The new appointments are uniformly those who Lula trusts and relies upon.

She has given up any pretense that ministers should have some knowledge of the subject matter of the ministry they control; rather, the sole criterion is what political clout they bring to the post. As it happens, PT has now lost most of its political clout, and many of its members are deserting the sinking ship.

Dilma has resigned herself to accept the inevitability of downgrading the “progressive” ministries she created (Women, Diversity, etc.). They will now all report to a more powerful minister rather than directly to her.

PMDB, the party of the nation’s Vice President and the presidents of both houses of Congress, has vastly increased its political clout, and firmly controls the legislative branch, even with the ongoing Lava Jato investigations. It will soon have one quarter of the ministerial positions, including most of the important ones.

Lula has all but announced he’s running for President in 2018. He will promote himself as the “savior of the country”, the one person who can put Humpty Brazilumpty back together again. In order to do this, he needs power now, with Dilma out of his way. She resignedly agreed.

In short, Dilma has resigned the power but not the office. By doing so, she’s probably ensured she will remain a figurehead until 2018. That’s humiliating, and she would have done better to resign the office.

The Curmudgeon lives in hope but still writes dismal Smidgens.


  1. Michael,
    I never expected her impeachment or resignation and by handing over power to Lula’s people she strengthens a weak position, albeit with little personal gain. Perhaps Levy will have greater or at least better defined support although there was no change at the Min. de Planejamento. Has she given up? I am not sure. Certainly though, she has been lost and the “grande timoneiro” will show the way…Lucky us, right?

    Again, nice job.

  2. You suggest that Dilma should resign? But who would fill the her place? I am have only lived in Brazil for 4 years and every educated Brazilian that I have talked with about the subject believes that although she has mismanaged the country’s economic policy there is absolutely no HONEST credible alternative candidate to replace her. The problem is not the President but the whole political system of Brazil and the method that candidates, especially in Congress, are elected. When the system changes the country will change.


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