President-elect of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva unveiled the first cabinet options for his incoming administration, including key positions such as foreign minister, finance minister and chief of staff.
Speaking from the headquarters of his transition group in the capital Brasilia, Lula announced on Friday that close ally Fernando Haddad, the former mayor of Sao Paulo, would become his finance minister.
He also selected professional diplomat Mauro Vieira as foreign minister, former congressman Jose Mucio as defense minister, Bahia Governor Rui Costa as chief of staff and former Maranhao state governor Flavio Dino as justice minister.
“When you form a government, you look at Brazilian society as a whole,” Lula, who will take office on January 1, later wrote on Twitter.
“The [ministers] announced today are those qualified to do the job. We will have different ministries with black and indigenous women and men and women. We will have a government with the face of Brazil.”
In October, Lula – a popular leftist candidate representing the Workers’ Party (PT) – narrowly won over far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in an election. Second round of presidential election that saw him earn 50.8% of the vote versus 49.2% for Bolsonaro.
Lula previously served as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010. But he was convicted in 2017 of corruption and money laundering, and his 2018 presidential bid was interrupted when he arrested.
His companion at the time, Haddad, took his place in the election, ultimately losing to Bolsonaro in a run.
The criminal conviction against Lula is Canceled by the Supreme Court of Brazil in 2021, opening the door for Lula to launch a successful presidential campaign this year.
As he prepares to begin his third term as president, investors have expressed concern on its economic policy, calling for firm rules for public spending.
In November, Lula’s transition team approached the Brazilian Congress with a multibillion-dollar plan to increase social spending, including budget cuts for welfare spending, raising the minimum wage and more funds for healthcare.
Lula has vowed to prioritize social spending over fiscal constraints, calling his mission to tackle poverty and make sure “every Brazilian gets coffee, lunch and dinner back.” “.
“There is no point in thinking only of financial responsibility because we have to start thinking about social responsibility,” he said.
Haddad, Lula’s chosen finance minister, is a lawyer with a master’s degree in economics and a doctorate in philosophy. Considered a moderate in the Workers’ Party, Haddad was part of Lula’s first presidency in 2003, serving in the planning and budgeting department.
He then served as education minister for six years, before running for mayor of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city. During his time there, from 2013 to 2016, he renegotiated the city’s launch with the federal government, reducing it to about $9.52 million (50 billion reais).
Sergio Vale, chief economist at consulting firm MB Associates, expressed concern about Brazil’s financial stability under Haddad.
“The extent of this government’s interest in the costs of the following years remains unclear. Haddad has less commitment to financial issues than the market expected and less dialogue with Congress [Lula’s] former ministers,” Vale told the Associated Press news agency.
Lula’s budget plans still have to be approved by both houses of the Brazilian National Assembly to take effect.