Dilma Rousseff has been sworn into office for a second term as Brazil’s president amid a huge corruption scandal in the country’s biggest state-run oil company, pressure to improve the economy, and less congressional support for her ruling coalition.
On Thursday, 14 heads of state and senior delegates, including US Vice President Joe Biden, attended Rousseff’s swearing-in ceremony at the Brazilian parliament in the capital, Brasilia.
In her inaugural address, Rousseff pledged to improve living standards and to create conditions to stimulate investment.
The 67-year-old president also said she is ready to fight graft.
“The Brazilian people want even more transparency and more combat against all types of crimes, especially corruption,” she said. “And they want the arm of justice to reach everyone equally. I’m not afraid to face these challenges.”
Rousseff, who secured over 51 percent of the presidential votes in October, faces a slow-growing economy and a recession during her second term.
She was the chairman of Brazil’s oil giant, Petrobras, between 2003 and 2010, when much of the embezzlement and bribery being spoken of in a recent scandal is believed to have happened.
An investigation known as Operation Car Wash was launched in March and targeted a money-laundering scheme involving Petrobras.
A former director of Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa, recently claimed that money embezzled from the company was given to President Rousseff’s Workers’ Party in order to buy political favor.
He also claimed that some of the bribe helped fund Rousseff’s 2010 presidential campaign.
Rousseff has dismissed the allegations, noting that she did not know about the bribery at Petrobras.
She was elected Brazil’s first female president in 2010. Her party has been ruling since 2002.