Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff won a second four-year term yesterday, defeating challenger Aécio Neves by a margin of 51.6% to 48.4%. Rousseff waged one of the most negative campaigns in memory, conjuring fears that Neves would cut government anti-poverty programs rather than explaining how she plans to pull the world’s seventh largest economy out of recession.
The close result paints a picture of a deeply divided nation—politically, socially, and geographically. Rousseff last night pledged to initiate a dialogue and to be “a much better president than I have been until now.” Although Rousseff pledged during the campaign to replace her finance minister, her stout defense of the status quo gives little reason to expect that she will abandon her interventionist economic policies in a second term.
Sunday’s results were greeted with skittishness in the private sector, which had hoped that Neves’ free-market programs might jumpstart a flagging economy. For example, Brazil’s currency the real dipped to a nine-year low.