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Brazil confirms austerity policy with the new team economic team

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Brazilian President Michel Temer has officially nominated eleven new ministers, the government’s official bulletin said, giving continuity to the government’s reform program ahead of the general elections in October.

While the names were previously known, it is common in Brazil to see heavy ministerial turnover during an election year, as ministers leave office in order to run for elected positions.

Among the ministers nominated are the following: Marcos Jorge de Lima as industry and commerce minister, Wellington Moreira Franco as mining and energy minister, Eduardo Guardia as finance minister, Esteves Colnago as planning minister, and Helton Yomura as labor minister.

It was later announced that Ana Paula Vescovi will serve as deputy under new Finance Minister Guardia, the minister announced on Wednesday, a day after taking office.

As head of Treasury under previous Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, Vescovi helped to implement an agenda of fiscal restraint that faced strong opposition in Congress.

Ex minister Meirelles resigned last Friday to weigh a presidential bid in the October elections for the ruling MDB party. “I decided to leave now. I will study a possible candidacy,” he said in a WhatsApp message, without elaborating.

Meirelles later told reporters that his deputy minister Eduardo Guardia, will continue his efforts to rein in the budget deficit and restore confidence in the management of Brazil’s economy.

Meirelles, 72, is a former banking executive and central bank governor, and said he helped Temer’s government recover Latin America’s largest economy from its worst recession and bring inflation under control with policies that must be continued.

The priorities, he said, are to overhaul a costly social security system, reform a complex tax system and privatize state-run Eletrobras, the country’s biggest utility.

After stepping down Meirelles joined MDB at an event that felt like the possible prelude to a launch of a Temer-Meirelles ticket, with a large photo of the two men and a campaign jingle playing loudly.

Meirelles previously belonged to the Social Democratic Party (PSDB), a partner in Temer’s coalition government, but left after it became clear the party planned to back Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin in his presidential run.