Power

Bolsonaro breaks with one of Brazil’s most powerful parties

Jair Bolsonaro's decision to pick a fight with the Democratas party could end up being very costly

mandetta rodrigo maia
Speaker Rodrigo Maia (left) and Luiz Henrique Mandetta. Photo: Ag. Câmara

The decision to fire Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta amid the deadliest pandemic in a century was undoubtedly a questionable move by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro. Beyond issues of public health, axing Mr. Mandetta also creates a major — and perhaps insurmountable — cleavage between his administration and the conservative Democratas party, one of the most powerful political groups in present-day Brazil and of which the former Health Minister is a member.

Moments after the firing was announced, Mr. Bolsonaro spoke to TV news channel CNN Brasil and lashed out at Democratas’ brightest star, House Speaker Rodrigo Maia. He accused...

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