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Top advisor and a banker leaving Lula da Silva administration

Tuesday, June 30th 2009 - 15:01 UTC
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Meirelles has played a crucial role in reining in Brazilian inflation Meirelles has played a crucial role in reining in Brazilian inflation

Two officials from the Lula da Silva administration which have played crucial roles are expected to leave the government in the coming months. One of them is presidential advisor Roberto Mangabeira Unger who is returning to Harvard University, the other banker Henrique Meirelles who is planning to run for governor of the state of Goias.

Lula da Silva confirmed Monday that Mangabeira Unger will resume his teaching career at Harvard University.

Press reports in recent days indicated that Mangabeira Unger was likely to resign his post advising President Lula da Silva on long-term economic planning. Under Harvard University rules, Mangabeira Unger was eligible for a leave-of-absence of no more than two years. The two-year period lapses in August.

Since 2007, Mangabeira Unger has been advising Lula da Silva on issues such as long- term energy and food security, foreign trade and investment.

A Brazilian citizen, author and sometime political activist, Mangabeira Unger is a tenured professor at Harvard Law School.

Meantime the financial magazine Valor Economico reported in its latest edition that

Brazilian Central Bank President Henrique Meirelles will leave his post in March to run for governor of the center-west farm state of Goias. Allegedly Lula da Silva has already authorized Meirelles's departure for March, the newspaper reported, citing a close adviser presidential source.

Meirelles assumed the central bank presidency in January 2003, after more than a decade serving in key posts at BankBoston and enjoying a high degree of prestige among both domestic and international financial market participants.

Meirelles was appointed to the central bank post by Lula da Silva and is the only central bank president to serve under his administration. As a respected international banker, Meirelles played a crucial role in alleviating market fears that the Lula da Silva administration would take a populist outlook in economic policy.

Under Meirelles' orthodox tenure, Brazil’s central bank has gradually cut the benchmark Selic interest rate to its lowest level ever, 9.25%, while inflation remains under control. When Meirelles assumed the post, the Selic rate was 25%.

In the meantime, inflation, which reached 9.3% in 2003, last year ended at 5.9% and is expected to dip below 5% this year.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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