January 1, 2019


In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro tries to unite the entire right (Deutsche-Welle, 1/01/19)

Politics without ideologies and party cliques -- this was Jair Messias Bolsonaro's campaign promise. And Brazil's incoming president has indeed assembled an administration with diverse affiliations. There are seven career politicians in Bolsonaro's cabinet, seven military men and eight "technocrats."

The most obvious division is between the "Chicago boys" -- nicknamed for their affinity for the laissez-faire economists turned out for decades by the University of Chicago -- and the military wing, including Bolsonaro himself and his vice president, General Hamilton Mourao. Led by the finance guru, banker and incoming economy minister Paulo Guedes, the classically liberal economists intend to cut state spending as much as they can.

Guedes intends to cut subsidies for entrepreneurs, as well as pensions in the public sector. State-owned enterprises are to be privatized. This puts him on a collision course with the military, which does not want to see strategic industries, such as oil production and electricity supply, in foreign hands.

"There are major differences in economic policy," the political scientist Oliver Stuenkel told DW. "However, the military also knows that the Chicago boys were incredibly important in winning the elections. This is the reason banks and investors supported Bolsonaro's candidacy." [...]

Bolsonaro's core election promise was to keep political parties out of government. He had blamed them for Brazil's years of political instability and corruption scandals. "Not only will that fail, but I doubt it will even be attempted," the FGV's Praca said. "Of course, there is a desire to govern differently than before. It's also a way of making it clear to party leaders that the new government won't go along with the way everything used to be done."

Things will probably continue as before. "You can't govern without making concessions to the parties," Praca said. "Perhaps we could keep it going for a month or two, but it doesn't work as a government strategy. There is going to be a fast learning curve."

Posted by at January 1, 2019 8:26 AM