Brazil’s Lula wants seasoned politician to lead economic policy if he wins – advisers

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends the 100th anniversary event of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), in Niteroi near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 26, 2022. REUTERS/Ian Cheibub

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BRASILIA, April 20 (Reuters) – Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is leading opinion polls for October’s elections, wants to recruit a former governor or other senior politician to lead economic policy if he wins, said close advisers to the left-wing leader. Reuters.

Advisers, including Lula’s former finance minister, Guido Mantega, said those around him had speculated that a handful of fellow Workers’ Party compatriots with presidential experience might do the trick – but Lula himself did not weigh.

“Lula never talks about names, it’s too early for that. He has a profile. He wants a politician, someone who has good relations with Congress, but who knows the economy and public finances,” he said. said a senior adviser to Lula, requesting anonymity.

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“He doesn’t want an academic and, certainly, he doesn’t want someone from the financial market,” the person added.

This contrasts sharply with current Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, an economist and investor with no prior political experience exploited by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro early in his 2018 campaign. Guedes’ bold plans for privatizations and business-friendly reforms have drawn acclaim from the private sector but have struggled to take hold in the capital Brasilia.

Lula’s press office declined to comment on who would direct economic policy if elected to a third term. Lula served two terms from 2003 to 2010.

It would not be the first time that Lula has called on a politician for this task. He made Antonio Palocci, a doctor and former interior mayor of Sao Paulo, his first finance minister, winning the approval of lawmakers and investors.

Mantega confirmed to Reuters that during a lunch with business leaders this week he offered several names that would fit that political profile, including Bahia Governor Rui Costa, former Piaui Governor Wellington Dias and former Ceara governor Camilo Santana, all members of Lula’s Workers’ Party. .

Mantega also cited Pernambuco governor Paulo Câmara, of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) recently joined by former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin – a veteran center-right politician chosen as Lula’s running mate to woo moderate voters.

The Veja news magazine website first reported Mantega’s comments.

“I just mentioned the names of some politicians. I didn’t even mention them all because there are many who are qualified to be finance ministers,” Mantega said.

Yet three other Lula advisers, who asked not to be identified, agreed that these four politicians had the kind of experience Lula seeks, in an effort to bolster congressional support for his economic agenda.

Whatever the choice, they agreed it would be a long time before Lula makes an official nomination, as the ex-president is eager to be his own spokesperson on economic issues during the election campaign.

“To talk about forming a government now is to be overconfident. It’s not Lula’s style, he knows there’s a long way ahead of us,” a campaign source said.

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Reporting by Marcela Ayres and Lisandra Paraguassu Editing by Brad Haynes and Grant McCool

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