Lula appoints leftist former mayor as finance minister
Brazilian President Lula da Silva names his picks for ministers in his government that is set to be inaugurated in less than a month.
Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio da Silva on Friday named former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad as the country's finance minister despite his unfavorable standing among businessmen and the overall business community.
"(I chose) comrade Fernando Haddad as Minister of Finance," Lula told a press conference in the capital, Brasilia.
Lula's other picks included Mauro Vieira as foreign minister, Flavio Dino as justice minister, Jose Mucio Monteiro as defense minister, and Rui Costa, Bahia governor, as chief of staff.
Haddad was the country's education minister from 2005 to 2012, and he comes in place of liberal economy minister Paul Guedes, a stand ally of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
After Lula's government takes office after his inauguration on January 1, the economy ministry will be dissolved and turned into finance, industry, and planning agencies.
His pick for finance minister saw many people criticizing Lula's choice, with many stressing that he was too leftist for their taste.
Vieira, on the other hand, is a veteran Brazilian diplomat that has already served as foreign minister and ambassador to Argentina and the United States, and at 71 years of age, he has much expertise to bring to the ministry.
Lula's first bid for president against Bolsonaro culminated in a dead end, prompting runoff elections to be held.
In the October 30 runoff election, da Silva defeated Bolsonaro, marking a stunning comeback for the leftist former President and the end of Brazil's most right-wing government in decades.
Bolsonaro's Liberal Party (PL) filed a complaint to challenge the election's outcome, claiming that some of the electronic voting machines were flawed and that those votes should be invalidated, an argument that election officials dismissed.
Election experts and political analysts slammed Bolsonaro's allies' election challenge as weak on the merits, but it could still energize supporters who have been protesting his defeat at the polls.
Meanwhile, a court document revealed that Alexandre de Moraes, the head of Brazil's electoral court, rejected a complaint from Bolsonaro's allies seeking to challenge the presidential election, which the incumbent lost by a narrow margin.
And though his pick for finance minister was unfavorably met, in the wake of Lula's election victory over his opponent, the Sao Paulo stock exchange (B3) witnessed a volatile yet overall increase the day after the win.
The Bovespa Index, a benchmark index of around 92 stocks traded on the B3, recovered from an opening retreat to gain around 2% before settling to 0.3% during early afternoon trade, while the Brazilian real soared against the dollar, marking a 2.2% gain.
Despite the market favoring Bolsonaro for his businesses-oriented agenda, analysts suggest that the markets had already aligned prices for Lula's victory.
The former leftist President, whose term lasted from 2003-2010, urged "peace and unity" after defeating far-right Bolsonaro, who is yet to concede, but da Silva has concluded a historic political comeback.
The victory represents a stunning turnaround for the leftist icon, who returned for an unprecedented third term at 77 after leaving office in 2010 as the most popular President in Brazilian history.