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By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão in the hospital receiving chemotherapy, the reins of public office will be temporarily handed over to his deputy governor, Francisco Dornelles. It was announced yesterday that Dornelles will be acting governor for thirty days, while Pezão is on sick leave to treat lymphoma, which was diagnosed last Thursday.

Deputy governor of Rio de Janeiro, Francisco Dornelles, Brazil, Brazil News
Deputy governor of Rio de Janeiro, Francisco Dornelles, will assume the leadership duties for thirty days while Pezão is treated for lymphoma, photo by Carlos Magno/MPRENSA RJ.

Deputy governor Dornelles says that he will follow the efforts already planned and underway, “Pezão has managed to guide the dialogue […] because he is an exceptional ally in many different forums, searching for alternatives to move the state forward in the midst of this terrible economic crisis of the country.” Dornelles adds, “Assume the state government will continue with this spirit, reinforcing each of Pezão’s programs.”

Pezão told government news sources, “It is an honor to be replaced by Dornelles, my friend and adviser in all hours. It’s a luxury to have a lieutenant governor who has been Attorney General of the National Treasury, Secretary of Federal Revenue and holder of three ministries, Finance, Industry, Trade and Labor.”

Adding “Dornelles is an expert in public finance and is already contributing in the conduct of our state at the moment so delicate. His public career also gives it an important role as a political operator.” Pezão, who met with Dornelles on Sunday (March 27th) will coordinate a daily work routine with Dornelles. “I will keep this dynamic, exchanging messages or meeting me in person when necessary. Nothing changes in the government.”

Governor Pezão (which in Portuguese means ‘Bigfoot’) was re-elected in October 2014, and served as Sergio Cabral’s vice governor during the previous eight years before that. He is a member of the PMDB, the same political party of Brazil’s Vice-President, Michel Temer, which may withdraw their support from the PT party tomorrow.

Francisco Dornelles is 81 years-old and originally from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. He represented Rio de Janeiro in the Federal Senate from 2007 to 2015, and before then, he was a Deputy from Rio de Janeiro from 1987 to 2007. He is a lawyer and economist and member of the Progressive Party.

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