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Rousseff Considering Replacing Chief of Staff in Bid to Resolve Political Crisis

09/11/2015 - 11h40



President Rousseff is considering replacing Chief of Staff Aloizio Mercadente with someone who could act as a kind of "prime minister", and who is not affiliated with the governing Workers' Party (PT).

According to advisors, Rousseff realizes she needs to take an action of "impact" and political resonance in order to resolve the crisis that has paralyzed the government.

She is considering replacing Mercadente with someone from outside politics, who would be amenable both to her allies and the opposition, in order to improve governability and reduce the number of defeats the government has been suffering in Congress.

This is not the first time that Mercadente's removal has been floated as part of a possible solution to the crisis. Rousseff's predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has advocated the replacement of Mercadente by defense minister Jaques Wagner.

The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), party of Vice-president Michel Temer, has also requested Mercadente's removal, alleging a poor working relationship with the minister. Mercadente, who mediates between the PMDB and the government, is considered centralizing and inflexible.

According to government sources, the President feels that Mercadente was not successful in key strategic negotiations at the start of her second term as president.

The ministers to whom Folha spoke said that Mercadente would not leave the government. It is likely that he will be transferred to another position.

Rousseff has promised to reform the ministries as a means of cutting the fiscal deficit of R$30.5 billion (USD $8 billion) forecast by her economic team in next year's budget.

The aim is that the new Chief of Staff transmits "a sense of stability to the political sphere" and sets up a bureaucratic structure to help the government improve its administration and its relationship with its allies.

In Congress, the movement for Rousseff's impeachment has increased in strength, following intensification of the economic crisis by the news on Wednesday (9) that the country has lost its investment grade status.

Cases have been brought to the Higher Electoral Court (TSE) requesting the cessation of Rousseff's mandate. In addition, government finances have been under analysis by the Federal Court of Accounts, providing further ammunition to those calling for her impeachment.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress
Chief of Staff Aloizio Mercadente
Chief of Staff Aloizio Mercadente

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