In a direct message to Vice President Hamilton Mourão, President Jair Bolsonaro (non-party) said on Thursday (28) that it was up to him to choose and remove ministers, called his deputy a tipper and said anyone wants to choose the members of the first stage of government expected to stand in the next presidential election.
These statements were made a day after Mourão reported the dismissal of Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Upon arriving at Alvorada Palace in the late afternoon, Bolsonaro was questioned about Mourão’s statements. At first, the president said he would not comment on the matter, scoffing when he said he knew nothing about the exchange of ministers and that the questions should be directed to Mourão.
After a prayer with supporters, however, he changed his mind. He started by attacking the press, for having “sowed discord” by notifying possible changes of ministers, then concluded that the situation worsens when members of the government also discuss these possibilities.
“I regret that people in the government itself are now starting to make assumptions about the exchange of ministers. The government is fine, despite the problems we have, and I am talking about the pandemic which has really hampered almost everything, ”the president said.
“What we least need are informants to train my ministry. I make it very clear that the 23 ministers choose me and no one else. End. If someone wants to choose a minister, apply in 2022 and good luck in 23 ”, he added.
Thursday, the president had already pleased his chancellor, who accompanied him on a trip to the northeast.
“I always say that if my minister is praised by the media, he risks being fired. Without wanting to generalize our media. We have good journalists. But the media criticize our Ernesto Araújo all the time. Our man who does public relations with the whole world. “
Ernesto found himself in a tight spot from the time Brazil started needing Chinese supplies for the novel coronavirus vaccine. The Chancellor has been one of the main voices of attacks and criticism of the Asian country.
In an interview with Bandeirantes radio, Mourão was asked about the current situation of the Chancellor in this context. The vice president then signaled that there would be ministerial changes after the Congress election, with Ernesto able to leave.
“There is no doubt that there are ministers who are undoubtedly put forward for their management capacity and their strategic vision. I don’t need to name names. But the specific case you put [Ernesto Araújo], in matters of external relations, it is something that falls under the responsibility of the president, not? I think, I think, I don’t have a crystal ball for this, and this issue was also not discussed with me, that in the near future, after this issue of the elections of the new presidents of the two chambers of the Congress, there could be a reorganization of the government to take into account the new political makeup that is emerging from this process, ”Mourão said.
“So maybe there some ministers will be exchanged and, among them, the Foreign Ministry itself. So I prefer to wait. Mainly because this issue has never been discussed with me, and all I can talk about here will be pure speculation, ”he concluded.
Last week there were rumors among Brazilian diplomats that former President Michel Temer could be Ernesto’s replacement, but the arrival of vaccine shipments from India to Brazil seemed, behind the scenes, to be give the minister a chance to survive.
This week, however, part of the government’s military core went on to say that discomfort with the Chancellor’s figure had reached “the limit” due to its clashes with China at a crucial time in the pandemic and, according to these soldiers, the departure had become inevitable.
Mourão’s statements on Wednesday were interpreted as a way of expressing the sentiment that already dominated part of the military sector and technicians of Itamaraty.