Exclusive: Eyeing 2022 election, Covid hearings could hit Mandetta

Exclusive: Eyeing 2022 election, Covid hearings could hit Mandetta
Luiz Henrique Mandetta has high hopes for 2022. Photo: Ettore Chiereguini/Shutterstock

The Covid hearings are expected to begin next week, with the formal election of the committee’s chairman and rapporteur. One of the first moves of the investigation will be summoning Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga and his three predecessors during the pandemic — Luiz Henrique Mandetta, Nelson Teich, and Eduardo Pazuello.

The idea is to lay out a chronological path of the Health Ministry’s actions to fight the pandemic, and identify where it fell short. 

Sources within the committee tell the The Brazilian Report that Mr. Mandetta — Brazil’s first pandemic Health Minister — will not get an easy ride. Centrist and leftist senators say he was in charge of Brazil’s initial Covid-19 response and plan to put his management under the microscope.

Behind this is the fact that Mr. Mandetta has major electoral aspirations for the 2022 election — positioning himself as an opponent to President Jair Bolsonaro. For instance, he was among the presidential hopefuls who signed a pro-democracy manifesto at the end of March.

While the president is the ultimate target for anti-Bolsonaro lawmakers, delivering a heavy blow to Mr. Mandetta seaks to leave his electoral hopes dead on arrival.