The governor of Sao Paulo and likely centrist presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin said that he would privatize Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras if he wins the elections in October.
Alckmin, who has single digit support in opinion polls, said during a television interview with Band TV that he favored private ownership of Petrobras, as Brazil's biggest company is known, as long as the sale was conducted within a strict regulatory framework.
Once a taboo issue in Brazilian politics because of national sovereignty concerns, the privatization of Petrobras is set to become a campaign issue this year as Brazil struggles to bring an unsustainable budget deficit under control.
Brazil's left fiercely rejects the sale of Petrobras, but the leftist leader leading early opinion polls, former President Lula da Silva, will likely be barred from running because of a corruption conviction and there are no obvious politicians who can fill his shoes.
It is not clear where the far right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who is currently second in opinion polls, stands on relinquishing state control of Petrobras. But his economic policy advisor Paulo Guedes told Valor newspaper in an interview published on Monday that he favored selling all state companies to raise 700 billion reais that would help pay off one fifth of Brazil's public debt.
Meanwhile Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said that he will not run in the 2018 general election and plans to stay in his current position as long as President Michel Temer wants him to. Maggi, a key shareholder in one of Brazil’s largest agricultural companies, Amaggi, was a governor of top grains producing state of Mato Grosso for two terms and is finishing a second term as senator.
“I will not take part in this year’s elections. This does not mean I will abandon politics, but I will not run this year,” Maggi said at a press conference in Cuiaba, the capital of Mato Grosso. Maggi said he had told Temer about his plans, and that the president said he wanted him to remain as agriculture minister.