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Brazil: Lula adds Bolsonaro supporters to Cabinet

September 7, 2023

Brazil's Lula da Silva brings in key lawmakers who were supporters of his political nemesis — former President Jair Bolsonaro — to ease the passage of laws.

Lula de Silva walking through a crowd
Lula's Cabinet reshuffle is aimed at securing support for his political agendaImage: Jose Adalberto/DW

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday announced a Cabinet reshuffle that will bring into his government two ministers who were once allied with his political rival and predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

Andre Fufuca was named as the sports minister and Silvio Costa Filho will be the new ports and airports minister, said the Lula government in a statement.

Both the lawmakers used to hold key positions in the far-right Bolsonaro administration, which governed from 2019 to 2022.

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The move is being seen as a tactic to shore up support for Lula's political agenda from a powerful bloc of lawmakers.

The president also created a new portfolio for small- and medium-sized enterprises that increased the number of ministries from 37 to 38.

The latest announcement also seals the entry into Cabinet of the party of lower house speaker Arthur Lira, who was a supporter of Bolsonaro.

The reshuffle was preceded by a series of negotiations between the government and Centrao, a group of center-right parties characterized by their support for whichever party rules the Congress. The bloc is known more for its horse-trading prowess than ideological commitments.

Lula returns to a divided Brazil

A required reshuffle

A presidential official told the media that the reshuffle was important because "We needed our legislative agenda to advance. We could not continue as we were."

Lula is on his third term as president and now seeks support in Congress to approve the budget for 2024 and a tax reform.

The new ministers will take oath once "President Lula returns from the G20 meeting," in India, the Brazilian government said in a statement.

ns/sms (Reuters, AFP)