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Brazil president admits 'mistakes', pledges to overcome them

Published:Tuesday | September 8, 2015 | 12:11 PMAP
Dilma Rousseff, the embattled president of Brazil.

Beleaguered Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has acknowledged that her government may have made some errors but is pledging it will get past them.

In an address marking Brazil's Independence Day on Monday, Rousseff said that part of the South American giant's financial woes were caused by spending on social programmes by her government and that of her predecessor and mentor, Luiz In·cio Lula da Silva.

"If we have made mistakes, and it's possible, we are going to overcome them," Rousseff said. "What I want to say, with all frankness, is that we are confronting the challenges, these difficulties, and we are going to make it."

But she also blamed the financial woes on the economic situation abroad, particularly flagging growth in emerging countries.

"No one who is being honest can deny it," she said.

Rousseff's popularity ratings have sunk to single digits in recent months amid Brazil's economic slowdown and a snowballing corruption scandal at state-run oil giant. Several politicians close to Rousseff, as well as top figures in her governing Workers' Party and opposition lawmakers, have been caught up in the scandal. She has denied any knowledge of the scheme.

Rousseff seized on the Independence Day military parade in the capital, Brasilia, to display a united front with her vice-president, Michel Temer, with the pair standing shoulder-to-shoulder.

Earlier this week, Temer suggested that Rousseff would be unable to survive to the end of her mandate in 2018 if her popularity ratings remain low. Temer, who is from a party crucial to Rousseff's governing coalition, later downplayed the comments, saying they were taken out of context.

Meanwhile, anti-government protesters demanding Rousseff's impeachment or resignation demonstrated in Brasilia, deploying inflatable satirical floats that featured Rousseff in red and Silva in prison stripes.

Similar demonstrators have been staged sporadically since the beginning of this year, though they've failed to attract the massive crowds that took to the streets in 2013, angry over lavish spending on last year's World Cup soccer tournament.