Bolsonaro's new chief of staff vows to fight hunger in Brazil

The long-standing cash handout program, first introduced by leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, benefits millions of poor Brazilians, who have faced increased hardship during the coronavirus pandemic. Bolsonaro brought Nogueira, a leader of the center-right Progressive Party, into his cabinet to shore up support in Congress as he prepares for the 2022 presidential election.


Reuters | Brasilia | Updated: 05-08-2021 03:03 IST | Created: 05-08-2021 02:54 IST
Bolsonaro's new chief of staff vows to fight hunger in Brazil
File Photo Image Credit: ANI
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Brazil's incoming presidential chief of staff Ciro Nogueira said on Wednesday the government will relaunch an ambitious social program to fight hunger and poverty ahead of next year's elections.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who swore in Nogueira as his closest aide on Wednesday, said he plans to increase the benefits of the popular Bolsa Familia by at least 50% and rename it Auxilio Brasil. The long-standing cash handout program, first introduced by leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, benefits millions of poor Brazilians, who have faced increased hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bolsonaro brought Nogueira, a leader of the center-right Progressive Party, into his cabinet to shore up support in Congress as he prepares for the 2022 presidential election. "His appointment shows that the government wants a better relationship with Congress," the president said.

Bolsonaro had kept some distance from Brazil's traditional center parties, that he accused of being corrupt when campaigning for office in 2018. But his popularity has dropped during the world's second-deadliest COVID-19 outbreak that has killed more than 550,000 Brazilians, and he has had to secure the support of those parties to shield himself against impeachment petitions in Congress.

A Senate investigation has uncovered potential irregularities in the government's purchase of COVID-19 vaccines. The appointment of Nogueira is expected to make his PP party the main component of any coalition that Bolsonaro will try to build to seek re-election next year.

Recent opinion polls show Bolsonaro's popularity plummeting and say he would be defeated handily by left-wing leader Lula if the election were held now. Neither Bolsonaro nor Lula have officially announced they will be candidates.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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