By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – On Thursday, the new administration of President Michel Temer registered one of its first victories in Congress, with the approval of a bill that reduces from 39 to 24 the number of ministries in Brazil. Most of the ministries extinguished were created during the presidencies of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

Brazil,Senate votes on bill that will reduce Ministries from 39 to 24,
Senate votes on bill that will reduce Ministries from 39 to 24, photo by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil.

With 44 votes for, six against and one abstention, the Brazilian senate approved the end of the Ministries of Social Security, Agrarian Development and Science and Technology. The latter, along with the Ministry of Communications, was incorporated in the new Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications.

The Women’s Policy Department was returned to the Ministry of Justice, which now also includes the former ministries of Racial Equality and Human Rights. The entity has been renamed the Ministry of Justice and Citizenship.

The Social Security Ministry is now a department incorporated into the Finance Ministry. The Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) was transformed into the Ministry of Transparency, Surveillance and Control. And the Department of Micro and Small Enterprises reports now, along with the National Youth Secretariat and the National Youth Council directly to the Presidency.

The Temer government kept the Culture Ministry, previously announced to be extinguished and incorporated into the Education Ministry, after a widespread protests forced the administration to reinstate the department.

The result of the vote produced reaction from anti administration legislators. “This measure goes in the direction of the minimal state, the state controlled by the market and, therefore, (state) to subtract rights,” claimed Senator Fátima Bezerra was quoted as saying to Agencia Brasil. “From a political point of view, it is a major setback,” she added.

The bill now goes to presidential sanction to be implemented.

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