Spotlight: Key members of Lula's cabinet

Bnamericas Published: Friday, December 30, 2022
Spotlight: Key members of Lula's cabinet

Brazil’s new administration, led by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, comprises 37 ministries, compared to 23 under Jair Bolsonaro, with most cabinet members having a political rather than technical profile, due to the need to negotiate with a congress where opposition forces hold much influence.

“It is important to understand that the government has two dimensions, the administrative and the political. In order to carry out public policies, it will be necessary to pass projects through congress and this type of discussion is eminently political,” Mário Sérgio Lima, a senior political analyst at Medley Global Advisors, told BNamericas.

Before Bolsonaro became president in 2019, ministers had generally a political profile, Lima said.

Lula is also reversing other decisions by the Bolsonaro administration, which merged ministries in efforts to reduce the State’s role.

Some functions of the economy ministry are being transferred to the newly created finance ministry, the planning ministry, and the industries and trade ministry, while the ports and airports ministry and the transport ministry are overseeing policies previously managed by the infrastructure ministry.

Lula’s pick for finance minister, Fernando Haddad, has caused some uncertainty among analysts. Haddad will take over some functions from technocrat Paulo Guedes, who led the powerful finance ministry, but who was also sidelined by Bolsonaro when politically opportune.

"So far, the names being announced as ministers bring more uncertainties. We saw that Lula even had difficulty convincing professionals to accept some ministries, as was the case of the industry and trade ministry," Jason Vieira, chief economist at Brazilian asset management firm Infinity Asset, told BNamericas.  

Initially, Josué Gomes, president of powerful São Paulo state industry association Fiesp, was offered the job of industry and trade minister. But he refused, leading Lula to give the portfolio to vice president Geraldo Alckmin.

"The work is just beginning and from the first day of government, I will meet with the ministers to discuss priorities. At the same time, also in the first days of government, I will meet with all state governors so they can send me a list of the three main infrastructure projects in each state, and we will try to find space in the budget to advance them," Lula said during the presentation of his cabinet.


– Finance minister: Fernando Haddad. A member of Lula's Workers’ Party and former São Paulo mayor, Haddad ran against Bolsonaro in 2018.

– Chief of staff: Rui Costa left the post of Bahia state governor on January 1 to assume federal duties. He is also a member of the Workers’ Party.

– Foreign affairs minister: Mauro Vieira is a career diplomat and served in the post in 2015 and 2016 already.

– Industry and trade minister: Geraldo Alckmin, who’s associated with the political center and also serves as vice president.

– Science and technology minister: Luciana Santos, head of the Communist Party, was a federal lawmaker between 2010 and 2018 and deputy governor of Pernambuco state.

– Labor minister: Luiz Marinho is a Lula ally, having served as labor minister and social security minister during previous Lula administrations.

– Ports and airports minister: Márcio França is a former governor of São Paulo state and a member of leftist PSB party, which is part of the government coalition.

– Comptroller General: Vinícius Marques served as a specialist in public policy and government management between 2006 and 2016. He is also a former head of antitrust authority Cade.

– Planning minister: Simone Tebet ran for MDB party in the presidential elections and endorsed Lula in the runoff, attracting centrist voters.

– Environment minister: Marina Silva is a member of center-left Rede Sustentabilidade party and already served as environment minister between 2003 and 2008. During that term, she stepped up measures against deforestation and made environmental licensing more rigid.

– Transport minister: Renan Filho is a former governor of Alagoas state. He is a member of MDB party, part of the government coalition.

– Cities minister: Jader Barbalho Filho is the head of MDB party’s Pará state chapter. He is the brother of Pará governor Helder Barbalho and son of influential senator Jader Barbalho.

– Mines and energy minister: A former police chief, Alexandre Silveira is a member of PSD party and was senator for key mining state Minas Gerais.

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