Power

Jair Bolsonaro fully embraces “old politics”

The Brazilian president had promised not to exchange cabinet positions for support. But now he is doing just that

The Brazilian president had promised not to exchange cabinet positions for support. By recreating the Communications Ministry, he is doing just that.
Jair Bolsonaro in a meeting with PSD leaders — the party now controls the Communications Ministry. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Elected president thanks to an anti-politics wave, Jair Bolsonaro promised to end one of the most vilified forms of coalition-making in Brazil: horse-trading politics. In an immensely fragmented parliament (30 parties are currently represented in Congress), governments simply cannot govern without forming broad, oft-heterogeneous coalitions. And the currency used in these negotiations is traditionally cabinet positions and other government offices. Parties would lend their support in Congress in exchange for the opportunity to oversee massive budgets which could enhance their electoral capital. The problem with that arrangement is that, often, parties would siphon public funds to finance their campaigns...

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