Lula da Silva wants a bureaucrat to head his finance ministry if he wins in October
“He wants a politician, someone who has good relations with Congress, but who knows the economy and public finances. He doesn't want an academic and, definitely, he does not want someone from the financial market," one senior advisor said
April 20, 2022 4:16pm
Updated: April 20, 2022 4:17pm
Brazil’s former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has reportedly said that he wants to recruit a seasoned government bureaucrat to run economic policy if he wins the South American country’s presidential elections in October.
Lula’s former Finance Minister Guido Mantega has said that the former president’s inner circle has speculated about the possibility of certain members of the Workers Party being tapped for the position, but noted that Lula has yet to weigh in on any candidates, Reuters reported.
According to Mantega, individuals that could be considered include Bahia Governor Rui Costa, former Piaui Governor Wellington Dias and former Ceara Governor Camilo Santana, all of whom are members of Lula's Workers Party.
After Brazilian newsmagazine Veja first reported on Mantega’s comments, however, he noted that the list was incomplete and many other names were surely being considered.
"I simply mentioned some politicians' names. I didn't even mention them all because there are many qualified to be finance ministers," he said.
Even so, three other advisers to the former president said the names presented by Mantega indeed hold the skills and experience desired by the president – most notably the ability to build support for his economic agenda in Congress.
They noted, however, that an announcement likely won’t be made for months to come.
"To talk about forming a government now is to be overconfident. It is not Lula's style, he knows there is a long road ahead of us," said one campaign source.
Another senior adviser said the names are strictly speculative as Lula “never talks about names” because “it’s too early for that.”
“He wants a politician, someone who has good relations with Congress, but who knows the economy and public finances. He doesn't want an academic and, definitely, he does not want someone from the financial market," he added.
Yet Lula’s desire to recruit a seasoned administrator shows that the left is changing course after conservative President Jair Bolsonaro appointed Paulo Guedes, an economist and investor without prior political experience, as economy minister early in his 2018 campaign.
Although Guedes’ desire to privatize state-owned businesses and enact pro-business reforms gained him support among the right, the former businessman has been largely unable to navigate political divisions in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia.
The first round of the Brazilian election will be held on October 2 and voters will have to decide if they wish to reelect incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, former President Lula da Silva, former Governor and Minister Ciro Gomes and former São Paulo Governor João Doria.
A recent poll by FSB Pesquisa has shown that Lula holds a comfortable lead over Bolsonaro and the data suggests that the leftist leader would win a first-round vote by 43% if the election were held today.