President-elect Rousseff announced key members of her cabinet, while economic growth slowed and climate conference earned a lukewarm reception.
Brazil’s president-elect Dilma Rousseff announced the names of ten key cabinet appointees on Wednesday, as she continued to define the make-up of the government that will take office in the New Year.
Rousseff opted for a mix of continuity and fresh faces, with several of the names revealed this week coming from within the ruling PT (The Worker’s Party), and half coming from the incoming government’s major coalition partners the PMDB – the centrist Democratic Movement Party of Brazil.
This week’s announcement brought the total appointments so far to sixteen, with less than three weeks remaining until the new government takes office on January 1st.
Among the high-profile appointments annouced this week, long-standing Lula ally Guido Mantega was named as finance minister, while Alexandre Tombini – a key architect of Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s successful 1999 inflation-targeting programme – gained the presidency of the central bank.
Current agriculture minister Wagner Rossi will continue in his post, while Lula’s planning minister Paulo Bernardo takes over responsibility for communications, two clear signals that Rousseff will seek to continue to chart the same centrist, market-friendly path as her predecessor.
Bernardo also made the headlines in his current role this week, thanks to the announcement that Brazil’s GDP is set to grow at least 8% in 2011. This followed figures released by the IBGE (Brazil’s institute for Geography and Statistics) this week which showed a 0.5% increase in the country’s GDP over the last quarter, marking a slight slowdown in growth compared to the same period in 2009.
In Mexico, the high-profile COP-16 climate conference in Cancún concluded with a non-binding agreement to combat global warming at the end of a 12-day summit which Brazil’s Environment minister, Izabella Teixeira, scored at “7.5 out of 10.” Teixeira, who called the agreement “balanced, if far from perfect” admitted that hopes of an extension to the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012, may have been premature: “we have to understand that there’s a right moment for everything.”
And in other news, Washington’s ambassor to Brasília revealed that the USA is seriously considering dropping the visa requirement for Brazilians entering the country, as he sought to underline that last week’s Wikileaks revelations had not had an adverse effect on relations between the two countries.