Brazil’s Lula draws in center-right parties to ease passage of laws
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced on Wednesday a shuffle that brings into his government two center-right parties once allied with his political nemesis, far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro.
Lula’s government handed over two ministries to deputies of the Progressives Party (PP) and Republicans, groups that held key positions in the Bolsonaro administration, which governed 2019-2022.
The move was seen as a tactic by Lula to ease key legislation through Congress.
Silvio Costa Filho, from the Republicans, was appointed Minister of Ports and Airports, and Andre Fufuca, leader of the PP in the lower Chamber of Deputies, was tapped as Minister of Sports, the presidency said in a statement.
Lula also increased the number of ministries from 37 to 38, with the creation of a portfolio for small and medium enterprises, awarded to Marcio Franca, until now Minister of Ports.
The new ministers will take office “when President Lula returns from the G20 meeting” in New Delhi, which runs into the weekend, the Planalto Palace said in a statement.
The move brings into the Cabinet the so-called “Centrao,” a group of center-right parties characterized by support of the ruling party in Congress — regardless of ideology — in exchange for parliamentary positions and resources.
Lula, who took office in January for his third term as president, seeks support in Congress to approve the budget for 2024 and a tax reform.
The current configuration of the Chamber of Deputies, where the government has approximately 130 out of 513 votes, caused it several defeats in the first half of the year, such as the divestment of some powers of the Ministries of Environment and Native Peoples.
In addition to Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT), the government has the support of six other groups in the Chamber of Deputies, which will now be joined by the PP and Republicans, with 49 and 41 representatives respectively.
“We needed our legislative agenda to advance. We could not continue as we were,” a presidential official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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