Ministerial Reform

Ernesto Araujo's departure from the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs (MRE) was demanded by different groups, from parliamentarians, through the private sector, even by his peers at the Foreign Ministry. The other changes in the command of ministries promoted by President Jair Bolsonaro were received with surprise, mainly by timing in which they were made.

Ernesto Araujo has always received criticism for his performance at the head of the MRE due to the overly ideological bias adopted. The global health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has demanded strong international alignment in order to guarantee access to inputs, medicines and materials used in the treatment of the disease. In 2021, with the pressure for doses of vaccines for the Immunization Plan, the retrospect of confrontation with other countries was crucial to consolidate the environment of contradiction to the name of the now ex-minister. Recent clashes between Ernesto Araujo and the National Congress, centrally with the Federal Senate, made it impossible for the diplomat to remain in the position of chancellor of Brazil.

A ministerial reform was already expected and expected since the beginning of the year, especially after the victory of Arthur Lira (PP / AL) and Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM / MG) to preside, respectively, Chamber of Deputies and Federal Senate. With the victory of “Centrão” in the elections for the Legislative Houses, it was expected that the group would demand more space in important bodies. A first exchange that favored the group was the appointment of João Roma (REPUBLICANOS / BA) to the Ministry of Citizenship.

The changes made in the last week of March come in the wake of friction and increased pressure from Congress, especially Centrão, on Bolsonaro. However, the erratic conduct of the Federal Government in conducting actions to combat the pandemic led Parliamentary leaders to raise the tone of demand on the Government.

Government Secretariat - The appointment of Deputy Flávia Arruda (PL / DF) to assume the position of chief minister of the Government Secretariat consolidates the approximation of the Plateau with the Centrão. It will be responsible for the political articulation of the Government with the Legislative. Arthur Lira and the 1st vice-president of the Chamber, Marcelo Ramos (AM), from the same party as the new Minister, were involved in the nomination, which also has a view to the group's support in the 2022 elections.

Military - Even though General Fernando Azevedo e Silva's resignation letter did not explain the reasons for the resignation, information indicates that President Bolsonaro would be unhappy with what he would consider the Armed Forces “lack of commitment” with agendas defended by the Government. The departure of Fernando Azevedo e Silva caused a relationship in the commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force, who, in a sign of solidarity with the former minister, confirming the political departure from the Armed Forces, made their positions available and left the Government.

Civil House - Fernando Azevedo's departure made room for the appointment of General Braga Netto in the Ministry of Defense and the departure of Eduardo Ramos for the Civil House. Despite the reform, Ramos will remain in a strategic ministry, assuming a primary role of direct advice to the Chief Executive in coordinating government actions.

AGU - José Levi's replacement was based on the opposition of the former AGU to the presentation of Direct Action of Unconstitutionality (ADI) contesting restrictive measures adopted by governors. President Bolsonaro insisted on the filing of the lawsuit and ended up, himself, submitting the request to the Supreme Federal Court (STF). At Court, Minister Marco Aurélio saw the play inept (because it could not be signed only by the president) and even analyzed the request. Levi will be replaced by André Mendonça, who returns to the old post he occupied between January / 2019 and April / 2020.

Justice ministry - The appointment of Anderson Torres to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security favors an old demand from the “bullet stand”, which has always pleaded for the group to participate in the Esplanada dos Ministérios. Torres replaces André Mendonça.

(Last updated: 3/30/2021)

By Luisa Araújo, Partner and Government Relations Manager at Umbelino Lôbo

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