January 2015 edition of VistaBrazil, the Firm's monthly review of economic, legal and political developments in Brazil.
New year, new cabinet: Rousseff's final picks unveiled
After winning a second term in October, President Dilma Rousseff took her time to select the new cabinet – squeaking in the final nominations on the day of her own inauguration.
At the end of November, the crucial composition of the economic team was announced, meeting with cautious enthusiasm by markets and economic analysts. Then, on 23 December, she appointed a further 13 new ministers, another 7 on 29 December, and the remaining 15 on 1 January (see Table 1).
Despite her campaign promise to create an "entirely new administration," some portfolios are headed by the same names. The ministers of defense, health, human rights, labor, and environment, for example, are all keeping their posts, along with Chief of Staff Aloízio Mercadente, who is also a minister.
Rousseff had her work cut out for her in finding ministers who were in no way implicated in the Petrobras scandal or any other corruption allegations. In fact, George Hilton, the new sports minister, was expelled from his previous party because of an incident in which police found him travelling with €200,000 in cash, which he said constituted dona- tions to the evangelical church in which he is a pastor.
The new cabinet offers a reduced Workers' Party (PT) presence and represents a shift to the right, in particular over economic orthodoxy. Party stalwarts are particularly unhappy about the loss of the education portfolio to Cid Gomes of the Republican Party of the Social Order (PROS).
The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) is reportedly unhappy as well. According to Valor newspaper, Senate president Renan Calheiros of the PMDB believes that Rousseff is trying to minimize the importance of the party within the government's support base by offering high-profile portfolios such as Cities and Education to other parties.
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