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Brazil's new president vows to revive economy amid challenges

Brazil's new President Michel Temer on Wednesday vowed to revive the economy and ensure political stability in his first televised address to the nation.

In the pre-recorded speech, Temer urged people to unite behind his new government and pull the economy out of recession.

The new government will work to ensure the country "that is reconciled, pacified and growing economically," said the new Brazilian president as he headed to China to attend the G20 summit.

Temer said "uncertainty has ended" and that the moment has come for hope and confidence after a long period of chaos due to the impeachment process.

He also defended reforms in labor laws and the social security system.

"In order to ensure the pensions' payment, we must reform the social security system. Without the reform, in a few years the government will be unable to pay the retired citizens' pensions," he said.

Earlier in the day, Temer was sworn in a ceremony after the Senate voted 61-20 to immediately remove President Dilma Rousseff from office for breaking fiscal laws in her management of the federal budget, ending a long impeachment process.

Temer, Rousseff's then vice president, will serve as the new leader in the rest of Rousseff's four-year term through 2018.

At his first cabinet meeting after the swearing-in ceremony, Temer vowed to revive the economy.

Temer said he would urgently seek support from various parties in Congress to tackle urgent issues, including unemployment.

"We have a huge unemployment rate, almost 12 million (jobless) people. This is a frightening number," said Temer, a member of Brazilian Democratic Movement Party.

Temer also rebuked the allegation that the impeachment process against Rousseff was "a coup," saying it was carried out fully according to law.

The new Brazilian president faces serious challenges: an economy in deep recession, huge budget deficits, a high unemployment rate of over 11 percent, as well as corruption.

Brazil's economy shrank 3.8 percent in 2015 and is expected to remain in the negative territory this year.

But there are signs of hope for the largest economy in Latin America. Its commodity prices have begun to stabilize and stocks prices are climbing, showing a gradual rise of investors' confidence.

Temer, who became interim president after Rousseff was suspended in May due to the impeachment process, has already tried to make some changes to fix the economy.

The government is easing up on business regulations and loosing labor rules instead of favoring unions and tightening environment laws. State companies, such as oil giant Petrobras, are seeing some of the assets privatized or are encouraged to team up with the private sector.

Although markets have responded well to these moves with confidence rising among investors, convincing Brazilian people will prove much tougher.

Meanwhile, Rousseff was defiant, calling the impeachment "a parliamentary coup" and "great injustice."

She also became the first Brazilian president removed from office since 1992, when Fernando Collor de Mello resigned just before the final vote in the impeachment process against him.

[Source: Xinhua, Rio de Janeiro, 31Aug16]

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