Liberal, Left-Leaning Economists Appointed to Lula’s Transition Team

Their first mission is to prepare a new budget allowing Lula to deliver on his main campaign pledges

Aloizio Mercadante, campaign manager of The Workers' Party (PT), from left, Senator Gleisi Hoffman, president of The Workers' Party (PT), Geraldo Alckmin, Brazil's vice president-elect.
By Simone Iglesias and Martha Beck
November 08, 2022 | 07:39 PM

Bloomberg — Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva appointed a mix of liberal and left-leaning economists to his government transition team, reflecting the broad coalition that helped him defeat Jair Bolsonaro last month.

Ex-central bank chief Persio Arida and Andre Lara Resende, who helped design a plan that stabilized Latin America’s largest economy in the 1990s, will be part of the government transition along with left-leaning economists Guilherme Mello, Guido Mantega and Nelson Barbosa.

While Arida and Resende are close to Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin, a centrist politician who’s leading the team, Mantega and Barbosa were finance ministers during the governments of Lula and his successor Dilma Rousseff.

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“Their views are complementary, not opposed,” Alckmin told reporters on Tuesday as he announced the names, adding that it doesn’t mean they will become cabinet members. “They may or may not participate in the new cabinet; this is a 50-day job.”

Their first mission is to prepare a new budget allowing Lula to deliver on his main campaign pledges, estimated to cost an additional 160 billion to 200 billion reais ($39 billion) next next year.

Avoiding disruption to social aid payments is the most pressing issue at hand, according to Alckmin. Bolsonaro has boosted cash payments through his Auxilio Brasil program to 600 reais a month, but set aside money for only 400-real handouts in next year’s budget. An additional 50 billion reais ($10 billion) are needed to maintain the benefit at the current level.

Social Agenda

Simone Tebet, a centrist senator who joined Lula’s campaign after placing third in the first round of the presidential election, will participate in discussions about social development, Alckmin said.

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Guilherme Boulos, a leftist ally who was elected lower house representative with the largest number of votes in the state of Sao Paulo, will join the transition team to discuss public policies for the poor.

Gleisi Hoffmann, president of Lula’s Worker’s Party, will be in charge of political negotiations while Aloizio Mercadante, head of the party’s economy think tank, will be coordinator of programs during the transition.

--With assistance from Bruna Lessa and Daniel Carvalho

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