By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – At least ten of Brazil’s 39 cabinet members resigned on Tuesday, including the country’s Chief of Staff, Aloisio Mercadante, and Justice Minister, Jose Eduardo Cardozo. According to Mercadante the move is an attempt to give President Dilma Rousseff total freedom to renew her entire cabinet for her second term.
“It is a way to demonstrate publicly show the spirit of the (Presidential) campaign which preached ‘new team, new government’,” said Mercadante in an interview on Wednesday.
According to the Chief of Staff, the idea of having the entire cabinet resign so that the President could conduct an ample cabinet reform was supposed to be a surprise for when Rousseff returned from her trip to Australia, but the plan leaked to the press. The idea, said Mercadante, was conceived during an informal conversation between him, Miriam Belchior (Planning Minister) and Cardozo. Mercadante said that President Rousseff was not aware of the plan.
Among those cabinet members who, according to O Globo, have officially handed in their resignation are Mauro Borges (Development and Foreign Trade), Manoel Dias (Labor), Clélio Campolina (Science and Technology), Moreira Franco (Aviation), and José Henrique Paim (Education).
On Monday, Culture Minister Marta Suplicy announced she had handed in her resignation letter and was returning to her Senate seat. Unlike her colleagues, however, she urged President Rousseff in her letter to carefully choose a new and independent economic team, causing some discomfort in the administration.
“What all of us, Brazilians, want at this moment is (economic team) to retrieve the confidence and credibility of the administration and one, which above all, is committed to a new agenda of growth and stability for our country,” stated Suplicy in her resignation letter.
In addition to the cabinet members who handed in their resignation letters this week, another important member of the Rousseff administration will not be returning to work on January 1st for another four years: Finance Minister Guido Mantega.
During her re-election campaign President Rousseff announced that she would change her economic team and that Mantega would only stay on as Finance Minister until December 31st. President Rousseff has public said more than once she does not have a specific date to announce the new cabinet, only that it will be done until the end of the year.