Brazil’s ruling party turns on finance minister Joaquim Levy

Luciana Magalhaes and Rogerio Jelmayer – The Wall Street Journal, 10/21/2015

Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff long has been criticized by business interests for her economic policy as growth sputtered, budget deficits ballooned, and inflation and interest rates soared. But now she is facing increasingly strident calls for the ouster of her finance minister from an unusual source: her left-wing party.

The minister, Joaquim Levy, a former head of the country’s Treasury, was brought into her government early this year specifically to make tough decisions to raise taxes and cut spending, including on social programs that have lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty and were started by Ms. Rousseff’s predecessor and former mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Mr. da Silva, who handpicked Ms. Rousseff to run as his successor, has been among the most frequent critics of Mr. Levy’s policies in past weeks. He also hasn’t spared Ms. Rousseff, who was his energy minister. then chief of staff. At a recent meeting with union leaders, the ex-president and one-time union president called for more government spending at a time Ms. Rousseff is trying to slash the deficit.

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