Bolsonaro conducts ministerial reform in a single day and changes ownership of six portfolios in Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro launched a ministerial reform this Monday by changing ownership of the judiciary, civil house, defense, foreign affairs, government secretariat and the Union’s attorney general.

The changes were confirmed in a statement from the Special Secretariat for Social Communications, affiliated with the Brazilian Ministry of Communications.

For the Civil House of the Presidency of the Republic, Bolsonaro appointed Luiz Eduardo Ramos, the current Minister of the Government Secretariat.

The Justice Department is headed by Federal Police President Anderson Torres, the current Minister for Public Security for the federal district.

General Walter Souza Braga Netto, the current head of the civil house, will succeed the Ministry of Defense, and the Federal MP Flávia Arruda from the Liberal Party (PL) affiliated with the “Centrão” will become the government secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic. [bloco informal que reúne parlamentares de partidos de centro e centro-direita]who supports the head of state’s allied base in Congress.

The new Foreign Minister will be Ambassador Carlos Alberto Franco França, a professional diplomat who advised the Presidency of the Republic and replaced Ernesto Araújo.

Finally, the head of the General Prosecutor’s Office (AGU), the body that defends the executive branch in judicial proceedings, will be transferred to André Mendonça, who headed the position at the beginning of the government and currently works in the Ministry of Justice.

The relevant appointments are published in the Federal Official Gazette.

With the changes, the current holders of the portfolios of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo, Defense, Fernando Azevedo e Silva and AGU, José Levi, are no longer ministers.

Ramos, Braga Netto and Mendonça, who were already ministers of state, switched to other guardianships.

One of the most anticipated names was the new Foreign Minister after Ernesto Araújo was accused of obstructing access to Covid-19 vaccines and harming Brazilian diplomacy.

It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to start negotiations on the ratification of the agreement between the European Union (EU) and the South American bloc Mercosur, which should imply the drafting of a cover letter [carta lateral, em português]with Brazil’s sustainability commitments.

When asked about the possible effects on the negotiations after this change in the ministry, the Portuguese ambassador in Brasília, Luís Faro Ramos, told Lusa that he expected “continuity”.

“I think this government is very open to considering such matters for the side letter and we hope that the next foreign minister will continue this opening line,” said the Portuguese diplomat, stressing that he expects “continuity” from the Brazilian side.

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