Former Brazilian leader Lula da Silva said President Dilma Rousseff managed the latest political crisis in the cabinet ‘correctly’ and is proving she has the capacity to lead “in this and in all situations”.
“Dilma acted correctly with the correct political balances” said the former president head of the Workers Party and political mentor of Ms Rousseff who last week ousted the Minister of Transport and fourteen other top ministerial aides for involvement in a corruption ring that collected money and other benefits from contractors.
Former minister Alfredo Nascimento resigned before getting the sack, following on revelations from Brazil’s largest circulation magazine Veja, which exposed how the ring of corruption with contracts worked inside the ministry feeding the bank accounts of leading members of the conservative Party of the Republic, one of the ten that make up the ruling coalition.
Without consulting the allied party, President Rousseff named Paulo Passos as new minister, a technician with long experience in the ministry and who belonging to the Party of the Republic.
This party supported former president Lula da Silva during his eight years in office and now backs President Rousseff, and has been in control of the Ministry of Transport since 2003.
Most of the fourteen top officials sacked, and probably more to come, were mostly named by Congress member Valdemar Costa Neto, chairman of the Party of the Republic and who has in the past been linked to several corruption scandals.
The Brazilian opposition is calling for the incoming Minister Passos to be summoned by Congress to answer questions since he has been involved in the ministry, at top level, for years and was currently acting Deputy Minister, “so he could not ignore what was going on inside the ministry”.
This is the second major corruption scandal faced by President Rousseff since taking office six months ago.
In May Antonio Palocci, cabinet chief and one of the leading political articulators of the administration (and a top advisor of former president Lula da Silva) was forced to resign under serious suspicions of having amassed a fortune as advisor to private companies while holding a government post.
But this is also the second time the Workers Party leader Lula da Silva has had to come to the rescue of President Rousseff and grant her his full support.
The first time involved the resignation of cabinet chief Palocci, a Wall Street darling boy famous for his totally orthodox approach to government finances.