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Lula puts together an economic team with two faces and opposing visions

The information suggested a casual step, as if it had not been planned, rather a consequence of the urgency to complete the massive cabinet of the next government. But it seems so much more. Lula da Silva fulfilled his well-known goal of arming an inexpensive team with two faces… or three.

He has just appointed right-wing senator Simone Tebet, a key ally in his run-off campaign, to the Planning Ministry. It is a crucial portfolio that is directly related to the application of the budget and therefore strong influence on the course of the economy.

This 52-year-old woman, a farmer with conservative cultural ideas, leader of the MDB and former lieutenant governor of Mato Grosso do Sul, will work alongside the head of the Treasury, Fernando Haddad, a heterodox economist, pure leader of the PT and who is often cited as the future political heir of the party leader.

When the novelty was known, they multiplied the information about alleged discomforts in the official party with internal sources warning about the different visions of both ministers that would make it difficult for them to complement each other.

Haddad did not publicly object, and those close to him said he was happy with the appointment. He transcended, however, that in privacy he would have taken steps to persuade Lula to change his mindeven if necessary in favor of another member of the MDB.


Information in this regard, released by the local press, reveals that the legislator wanted to keep public banks under the control of her ministry, but the idea was flatly rejected.

However, the newspaper portal Folha de Sao Paulo, clarified that in any case Tebet will have among its secretariats the areas of strategic investment and coordination of state companies. With this, you will be able to participate in the discussion about priority investments of the federal government next to the Civil House (headquarters of the Cabinet).

Lula da Silva raised the arm of Fernando Haddad in the last elections, in which the economist lost the governorship of São Paulo. Photo: AFP

It will also participate in the management committees of the government’s strategic social programs as Minha Casa, Minha Vida and Bolsa Família. In other words, the heart of public social investment.

Haddad’s misgivings have an explanation. The senator is an intense politician, who was initially linked to the outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro whom abandoned as a result of the tragic management of the Covid pandemic.

Presidential candidate, she came third in the first round of the elections and from then on became a strong ally of Lula, even influencing the PT leader to appear publicly. opposed to abortion and that the movement abandoned the color red for white.

markets winks

Tebet, unlike Haddad, is well regarded by the markets. It is linked to the agribusiness sector, a central vertex of the country’s accumulation system and which has been critical of the PT, remaining aligned with Bolsonaro throughout his government.

Lula divided the Ministry of Economy into three different portfolios, which until now had been managed in a unified manner by the liberal monetarist Paulo Guedes. They are Treasury, Planning and Industry. The latter was at the hands of Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin, another man from strong link with the financial and stock market sectors. They are nothing casual political signals.

The powerful Vice President-elect, Geraldo Alckmin.  Behind, Lula.  Reuters

The powerful Vice President-elect, Geraldo Alckmin. Behind, Lula. Reuters

The official information has been that Lula was looking for an appropriate portfolio for his ally, including Environment, and ended up deciding on this position. This vision is supported by the fact that there really is some urgency because the new ruler must complete a long list of 37 ministriesagainst the current 23.

But there are other data that would indicate that the intention was meditated to seek that balance in the management of the economy. In his first two terms, the former president promoted an economic policy of liberal court and fiscal discipline but with a social assistance system that made it possible to significantly increase the Brazilian middle class.

In other words, it maintains special support for Haddad but generates two important counterbalances for him. It would be partly due to the strong pressure from the PT to a multiplied increase in public spending which in Brazil is regulated by law.

Lula recently achieved, after extensive negotiations in a Congress dominated by the opposition, an increase in spending of 145 billion reais, above the limits. There are just over 26 billion dollars, which will be used to pay monthly subsidies to some 21 million needy families, in addition to other instruments for small children and women heads of household.

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