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Brazil Education Minister Cid Gomes Dismissed After Row in Congress

03/19/2015 - 08h54



The president of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ), has announced the dismissal of education minister Cid Gomes from the cabinet of President Rousseff.

"I inform the house of the statement I received from the Chief of Staff confirming the dismissal of the education minister, Cid Gomes," said Cunha on Wednesday (18) afternoon.

The decision was taken after an unruly session in Congress, to which Gomes had been summoned to explain his assertion that most congressional representatives were "racketeers".

The PMDB had demanded Gomes' resignation after he reiterated his original statement. The expectation was that Gomes would apologize for his comments and try to mend relations with Congress.

Instead, Gomes stood up, and pointing to Cunha, he said, "I prefer to be accused of rudeness than being accused of racketeering like him [Cunha], which is what the front pages of the newspapers are saying."

Beforehand, Gomes had said that parties allied to the government in Congress should back government legislation. "If not, leave the government," he said.

Upon leaving Congress, Gomes was summoned for a meeting with President Rousseff.

Gomes' dismissal is the government's attempt to prevent relations with Congress deteriorating any further. This would increase the likelihood of the Planalto being defeated on key projects.

The Planalto confirmed Gomes' dismissal. "The minister of education, Cid Gomes, handed in his resignation on Wednesday, March 18, to President Dilma Rousseff. She thanked him for his dedication to the ministry," said a government statement.

Luiz Claúdio Costa, executive education secretary, will take over ministerial duties on an interim basis.

For the leader of the PMDB, Leonardo Picciani, the government's swift response was appropriate. "President Rousseff is a democrat, and we wouldn't have expected any less of her. She respects parliament," Picciani said, after the news of Gomes' dismissal.

According to Picciani, Gomes behavior indicates a lack of "democratic and republican character." "His total incompatibility with his position as minister became clear," he said.

Beforehand, Picciani had threatened to withdraw the PMDB from the government's coalition, if Rousseff did not dismiss Gomes.

"He was a bigmouth," said Picciani. "He came here and said what he wanted to say, but he had to hear what he didn't want to hear. He left Congress stamping his feet like a spoilt child."

For José Guimarães, the government's leader in Congress (PT-CE), the incident reflects Gomes' attitude towards Congress, and does not represent the views of the government.

"The government has no problem with Congress," he said. "It was an issue Gomes had with Congress; it's nothing to do with the government."

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress
Brazilian Minister of Education Cid Gomes resigned from his post after having an argument with deputies
Brazilian Minister of Education Cid Gomes resigned from his post after having an argument with deputies

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