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Brazil's Bolsonaro shakes off administration and is eyeing election

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made major personnel changes Monday to end a series that he felt was damaging his administration prior to October's presidential election.

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Brazil's Bolsonaro shakes off administration and is eyeing election

Brazil's embattled education secretary resigned after a scandal in which evangelical pastors demanded bribes. Different political parties, including those supporting Bolsonaro wanted Milton Ribeiro out of the job.

Bolsonaro made the second shift at Petrobras, the state-run oil company in Brazil. The president of Petrobras was replaced by Bolsonaro after fuel prices were increased to pass some global oil price increases on to consumers. The company's board must approve Bolsonaro’s selection for Petrobras' new president.

According to Brazil's official gazette, Bolsonaro accepted Ribeiro’s resignation. This makes him the fourth Education Minister to leave the country since the inception of the 2019 administration.

Bolsonaro was under pressure from the public to remove Ribeiro, as the allegations could negatively impact his reelection chances in November. Bolsonaro is currently trailing ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva in opinion polls.

Brazilian media have published a number of stories and audio recordings that leaked last week. They allege that two pastors were unofficial advisors to the education ministry. They were said to have been favoring localities run by their allies and asking for bribes, including a kilogram of Gold.

Folha de S.Paulo, a newspaper, reported that Bolsonaro had given permission for Ribeiro to visit the pastors. Ribeiro was recorded telling mayors that the government would prioritize municipalities whose requests were supported by the duo.

Prosecutors have been authorized by the Supreme Court to investigate. The Federal Police is also investigating the allegations.

Bolsonaro was elected to office partly on the promise of eliminating corruption. Bolsonaro's allegations about the pastors were a threat to his image, which he has had to defend throughout several investigations into his administration.

Ribeiro stated that he denied any wrongdoing. Ribeiro also stated that he had reported to police and prosecutors suspicions of corruption among members of his ministry from August.

Ribeiro stated that "there are four foundations which guide me: God family honor honor and my country", adding that he was leaving his job to ensure Bolsonaro's administration wasn't tainted with accusations.

"I made this decision with a broken soul. He said that he appreciated the truth and knew there needed to be time to reach it.

Brazil's energy ministry made the announcement that Gen. Joaquim Slva e Luna, Petrobras president, was stepping down less than a year after he took over. Adriano Pires will replace him, an economist and well-known consultant in the oil and gas sector. Bolsonaro also appointed Rodolfo Landim (president of Flamengo soccer club) to the board.

Brazil's president is annoyed by Petrobras current pricing policy, given its inflationary effect on the general population during an election year. Bolsonaro wanted to tap someone who would not make further adjustments, according to one of Bolsonaro’s ministers with direct knowledge. Because they were not authorized to speak publicly, the person agreed to talk about the matter on condition that anonymity was maintained.

Inflation has risen to over 10%, which is affecting the purchasing power and purchasing power of Brazilians with low incomes. Petrobras raised fuel prices to its distributors by up to 25% earlier this month, citing the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This could further fuel inflation.

Although Petrobras is able to set prices independently, Sunday's Datafolha survey revealed that 75% blame Bolsonaro for inflation.


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