By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Media, politicians and economists in Brazil remained at a standstill Wednesday morning, waiting for the announcement of whether or not former President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva would be invited to take part in the Rousseff Administration. At the end of the morning, O Globo and Agencia Brazil reported that Lula was offered and accepted the position of President Rousseff’s Chief of Staff.
The four-hour meeting to decide Lula’s future role in his protégée’s administration on Tuesday night was hampered by news of Senator Delcidio do Amaral’s deposition to federal prosecutors naming politicians and crimes committed by members of the Executive Office, Senate, Chamber of Deputies, Mines and Energy Ministry and Petrobras.
Among those accused by Amaral are former Presidential candidate, Aecio Neves, Education Minister Aloisio Mercadante and former Mines and Energy Minister Edson Lobão. The deposition was a plea-bargain, which turned Amaral’s probably fifteen-year prison term into a 1.5 year house arrest.
Opposition leaders say ex-president Lula’s decision to take the cabinet position boils down to an attempt by the former leader to defend himself from federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors of the state of São Paulo charged Lula last week with money laundering and misrepresentation. As a cabinet member, the Supreme Court and not a federal judge will rule on charges against Lula. Some believe Supreme Court Justices will be more lenient since many were appointed by the former leader.
Political analysts say that bringing the ex-president into the current administration will make him a ‘president de facto’, with Lula deciding negotiations between Congress and the Executive, planning strategy and deciding policies.
For economists, despite statements made by President Rousseff last week that the economic policies would not change, Lula, as a cabinet member may try to dip into the country’s international reserves and use it to pay of the federal public debt and promote the illusion that the economy is improving.