Brazil’s economy minister Guedes says he would stay for Bolsonaro second term

February 22, 2022

By Marcela Ayres

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said he was ready to remain in office for a potential second term of President Jair Bolsonaro, but indicated that he would need support for his pro-market agenda.

In an interview with TV channel Jovem Pan News late on Monday, he said he would agree to keep overseeing Latin America’s largest economy, if invited.

Seen as right-wing Bolsonaro’s economic guru since his 2018 campaign, Guedes has been struggling to defend his market-friendly agenda, which includes fiscal sustainability and privatizations, at a time when both Bolsonaro’s government and Congress seek to pass fiscal measures to lower fuel prices ahead of October’s elections.

“If you see that this alliance of conservatives and liberals is continuing, you’re excited. Now, if it’s just a conservative government and it doesn’t have (a market-friendly agenda)…,” he said.

“As long as I have his trust and enthusiasm, we will be together. I trust him,” he added.

Fuel prices have soared in the past year, weighing on double-digit inflation in the country and affecting Bolsonaro’s popularity. For now, Bolsonaro remains in a distant second in voting polls behind former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Guedes said in the interview that the lack of political support stalled tax and administrative reforms and the privatization of state-controlled companies.

“I underestimated the resistance of the establishment,” he said.

Even so, the minister pointed out that the privatization of power company Eletrobras would occur this year.

(Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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