After negotiations that lasted for months, the President of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), carried out a ministerial restructuring in his government, allocating members of the center in exchange for political support in the National Congress.
With the reform, vice-president Geraldo Alckmin’s party, the PSB, lost ground. Federal deputy Silvio Costa Filho (Republicanos-PE) will take the place of Márcio França (PSB-SP) in the Ministry of Ports and Airports. In the same vein, with the departure of Olympic medalist Ana Moser from the Ministry of Sports, there was a reduction in the presence of women at the highest government level. Moser gave way to André Fufuca (PP-MA), leader of the party’s bench in the Chamber of Deputies.
Republicans and PP have 41 and 49 deputies, respectively, which represents approximately a fifth of the parliamentarians in the Chamber. The change generated dissatisfaction among the most left wing of the federal government, who accused the Lula administration of giving space to politicians aligned with Bolsonarism. The benches of these parties in the Northeast, however, mostly supported the PT member in last year’s elections and are working to consolidate the alliance.
Lincoln Telhado, master in political science from the University of Brasília (UnB), evaluates the reform as positive from the perspective of support among parliamentarians and the softening of speeches against the federal government in Congress. “We will hardly see a president of the Chamber (Arthur Lira, from PP-AL) giving interviews like he did a few months ago, saying that he was no longer going to organize the base of the government, that it was not the role of the president of the Chamber to do this “, says Telhado.
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For the political scientist, the reform also comes to formalize support that was already occurring among some congressmen. Silvio Costa Filho, for example, voted in favor of the government in 95% of the votes in the Chamber. André Fufuca, by 80%, according to a survey by Radar do Congresso, on the website Congresso em Foco, with information from votes that took place up to August 15th of this year.
“Thinking about articulation in a pragmatic way, the government wins because it formalizes something that was already occurring. For example, the Republicans, who are entering, were already delivering a lot of votes to the government. This was even being argued by party leaders so that these parties could achieve a formal space in ministries”, he states. “I think it’s a very reasonable way.”
“There are people who are saying that this reform was a disaster. But I see it with a little more caution. Lula manages to be very pragmatic in this sense. He moves a minister from the base, who is Márcio França, and fires Ana Moser, who it wasn’t giving any political capital to the government.”
In the same vein, political scientist Paulo Niccoli Ramirez, professor at the São Paulo School of Sociology and Politics Foundation, states that the reform gives the government a boost, considering that the majority of parliamentarians are conservative. “The Lula government seeks to form a majority in Congress to approve important projects, such as the fiscal framework, which still needs to pass through the Senate.”
The professor also points to a strategic nature in the ministerial reform, which is the weakening of parties aligned with Bolsonarism. Both the Republicans and the PP are “full of Bolsonaro politicians. This brings a fair shake to these parties, generating internal divisions. More than that, the Bolsonaro voters who voted for these parties end up contesting the acronyms, which are weakened for the municipal elections in the next year.”
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Ramirez, however, points out that the center may demand more space in the government despite the last two achievements. An investigation by CNN Brasil this Tuesday (12) showed that there is a possibility that the President of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), extends the work of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) that investigates the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST). After meeting with Lira, the president of the CPI, deputy Lieutenant Colonel Zucco (Republicanos-RS), declared that the head of the Chamber will take the request to be analyzed by the leaders.
Party and gender division
With the reform, in the party division, the PT continues with 10 ministries: Rui Costa in the Civil House; Wellington Dias at the Ministry of Development and Social Assistance, Family and Fight Against Hunger; Márcio Macêdo at the General Secretariat of the Presidency; Paulo Pimenta at the Social Communication Secretariat; Fernando Haddad at the Farm; Camilo Santana in Education; Paulo Teixeira in Agrarian Development; Luiz Marinho at the Ministry of Labor; Alexandre Padilha in the Institutional Relations portfolio; and Cida Gonçalves at the Ministry of Women.
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With União Brasil, a party that is part of the center, there are three portfolios: Regional Development with Waldez Góes; Communications with Juscelino Filho; and Tourism with Celso Sabino. The latter became part of the Esplanada dos Ministérios after Daniela Carneiro (União-RJ) was dismissed from her position on July 14th. Carneiro was the first woman to leave the government.
There are also three ministries with the MDB: Jader Filho nas Cidades; Transport with Renan Filho; and Simone Tebet in Planning. Despite having congressmen aligned with the physiologism that marks the actions of parliamentarians from the center, in recent years part of the MDB has been positioning itself more ideologically to the right in the National Congress.
PSD and PSB share six portfolios equally, each with three: André de Paula in Fisheries, Alexandre Silva in the Ministry of Mines and Energy; and Carlos Fávaro in Agriculture. With the PSB, more ideologically aligned with the federal government, Geraldo Alckmin in Development and Industry; Flávio Dino in Justice; and now Márcio França in the recently created Entrepreneurship, Cooperativism and Creative Economy.
Another five parties have one ministry each: Carlos Lupi (PDT) heads Social Security; Sonia Guajajara (PSOL) is at the head of the Indigenous Peoples; José Múcio Monteiro (PTB) heads Defense; Luciana Santos (PCdoB) is in Science, Technology and Innovation; and Marina Silva (Rede) is the head of the Environment.
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Six ministries have heads who are not affiliated with political parties, but who position themselves further to the left: Margareth Menezes in Culture; Esther Dweck in Management and Innovation in Public Services; Nísia Trindade in Health; Silvio Almeida on Human Rights and Citizenship; Anielle Franco in Racial Equality; and Mauro Vieira in Foreign Relations.
In addition to the party reconfiguration at the top level of the government, Lula lost the record number of women on the Esplanada dos Ministérios. In the beginning, there were 11 in 37 folders. Now, there are 9 out of 38. Until then, the highest level was that of Dilma Rousseff (PT), who had 10 out of 37 ministries. The female reduction could have been greater, since the names of Luciana Santos and Cida Gonçalves were mentioned as exchange targets during the ministerial reform.
Editing: Thalita Pires