Brazil's new president Michel Temer names business-friendly Cabinet

Temer becomes interim president at Jaburu Palace in Brasilia on May 12, 2016.
Temer becomes interim president at Jaburu Palace in Brasilia on May 12, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

BRASILIA (AFP) - Brazil's acting president Michel Temer named a business-friendly Cabinet on Thursday after his former boss Dilma Rousseff was suspended from office, ending 13 years of leftist rule.

Temer, a centre-right veteran with the backing of the markets, named former central bank chief Henrique Meirelles - a champion of orthodox monetary policies - to the key post of finance minister, an adviser told AFP.

He confirmed Temer would completely overhaul Rousseff's Cabinet, firing her ministers and naming a provisional list of at least 21 replacements - downsized from 32 under the suspended president.

Opponents of the new president, whose ascent has left the country deeply divided, condemned the new Cabinet as a throw-back to an era when Brazilian politics was the exclusive domain of white males.

All the new ministers were men, a stark contrast with the sidelined administration headed by Brazil's first woman president.

The adviser said the list "is provisional, and there will be more names."

Other prominent nominees included former Sao Paulo governor Jose Serra, a two-time presidential candidate for the center-right PSDB party, as foreign minister.

Romero Juca, who succeeded Temer as head of the PMDB party and was one of the main proponents of cutting ties with Rousseff to join the impeachment push, was named planning and development minister.

The new Cabinet also included at least one politician being investigated for corruption and one already convicted in 2014, according to newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.

 
 
 

Temer, who has said his priority is overcoming the political crisis and rebooting the recession-racked economy, was clearly aiming to soothe the financial world.

Meirelles, who headed the central bank from 2003 to 2011, is known for calming market turbulence.

Rousseff's predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, made him central bank chief to calm market fears over the implications a leftist presidency would have for the Brazilian economy.

Meirelles tamed inflation, opening the door for one of the biggest economic booms in Brazil's history.

He had close ties to Lula but did not get on with Rousseff and left the central bank when she took office.

She resisted Lula's suggestion that she make Meirelles her vice-president, choosing Temer instead.