The resignation from the Brazilian Ministry of Sports of the former Olympic volleyball medalist Ana Moser, in the midst of a cabinet change with which Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva seeks to strengthen his base, unleashed a barrage of criticism of the Brazilian president.
“It was a political decision, a shame for the sport, an abandonment” of the sector, declared Moser, the second woman to leave the Executive of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva after the resignation, in July, of the head of Tourism, Daniela Carneiro
Moser was replaced by centrist lawmaker André Fufuca, who had campaigned for Jair Bolsonaro’s re-election in 2022.
“I regret that Lula’s electoral promises, of a sport for the whole nation, had so little chance of developing. We had little time to change the reality of sport,” added Moser, who after his resignation received the solidarity of the other ministers of the government.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made cabinet changes to bolster center-right support. Photo: BLOOMBERG
In addition to Fufuca in Sports, the Brazilian president appointed another deputy this Wednesday as Minister of Ports and Airports, and created the Micro and Small Business portfolio, in a reform to strengthen his allied base.
In a statement, the Presidency of the Republic indicated that Lula met with the Minister of Institutional Relations, Alexandre Padilha, and with the deputies Silvio Costa Filho and André Fufuca, who were invited to assume the two ministries.
Costa Filho, from the Republicans, and Fufuca, from the Progressive Party (PP), center-right formations, agreed to assume the portfolios of Ports and Airports and Sports, respectively.
Fufuca, a young 33-year-old doctor, is a political godson and a member of the same party as the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Artur Lira, who is also an ally of Celso Sabino, from the União party and appointed last July as Minister of Tourism.
Lula da Silva and the Vice President of Brazil, Geraldo Alckmin, at the military parade for Independence Day, this Thursday. Photo: AFP
Lira, who always identified more with the opposition led by former president Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), had opposed some legislative projects of the allied base that supports the progressive president.
The new Minister of Sports takes over from the former volleyball player Ana Moser, in a decision that was discussed in the media and came to raise criticism from social movements.
In the Ports and Airports portfolio, Costa Filho, a 41-year-old educator, will replace the former governor of São Paulo Márcio França, from the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), the formation of the vice president, Geraldo Alckmin, also from the center-right.
The two new ministers, moreover, are from the northeast of the country, a region where Lula has great political strength and has always won during the elections he has contested.
França, in turn, will go on to command the new Ministry of Micro and Small Businesses, of which Lula had already expressed his intention to create it.
The official appointment and inauguration, according to the Presidency, will take place after Lula’s return to the country, who will participate this weekend in the G20 Summit in India.
Strengthen the foundation
With the reform, Lula keeps the PSB, a historic progressive party that was almost always on his side, within his cabinet and attracts to his base the right-wing Republican parties and the PP, which are currently divided in Congress.
Among the 513 deputies that make up the lower house, the PP has 49 legislators and the Republicans 41.
To solidify his base of support, Lula began his third term, on January 1, with 37 ministries, 14 more than his predecessor Bolsonaro and before the reform on Wednesday he had already changed two names.
After the coup attack on January 8, when radical Bolsonarists invaded and looted the headquarters of the three powers in Brasilia, Lula replaced General Marco Gonçalves Dias of the Institutional Security Cabinet (GSI).
Gonçalves Dias was replaced by the also general Marcos Antônio Amaro.
In July, the Minister of Tourism, Daniela Carneiro, involved in a corruption scandal, was replaced by Sabino.