Brazil’s Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles on Tuesday joined President Michel Temer’s Brazilian Democratic Movement party (MDB), with an eye on running for president in general elections in October.
Meirelles had been mulling a run for the office as the candidate of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) which he previously belonged to. However, as the PSDB planned to back Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin, he would share a ticket with Temer in the MDB at present.
Temer, party leaders and affiliated lawmakers attended a ceremony for Meirelles, held at the MDB’s headquarters in the capital Brasilia.
During the ceremony, party members chanted a campaign jingle that goes: “M for Michel, M for Meirelles, M for the MDB,” and put up banners with a photo of the two men along with the words “Our union makes us strong.”
Asked whether he plans to become a presidential candidate, Meirelles avoided the question, saying it was not the time to discuss it.
MDB President Romero Juca, who presided over the ceremony, said the minister’s participation strengthened the forces “to win an election” and continue the country’s political and economic transformation.
According to the Brazilian law, Meirelles must leave the cabinet post by Saturday, which he took in May 2016 amid the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and the assumption of power by her then-vice president, Temer.
Ministers planning to run for office must relinquish their cabinet posts six months before the election.
Meirelles is minister of finance and an executive of the Brazilian financial sectors, prior to which he headed Brazil’s Central Bank during the two presidential terms of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from 2003 to 2011.