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  • Brasil's President Jair Bolsonaro announced Thursday that he offered the position of chief of staff to Army General Walter Braga.

    Brasil's President Jair Bolsonaro announced Thursday that he offered the position of chief of staff to Army General Walter Braga. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 February 2020
Opinion

The Army General's appointment raises to seven the number of military men in the 20-member Cabinet.

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed Wednesday, his chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, one of the first politicians to back his presidential bid in 2018, and the last politician in his inner Cabinet.

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The president announced Thursday that he offered the position to Army General Walter Braga. In doing so, the head of state distances himself from political parties in his closest circle of advisors, that are now all military men.

According to government sources cited by Brazilian media, Lorenzoni will move to head the Citizenship Ministry, which is at the center of a controversy due to the reduction of "Bolsa Familia," a social program implemented by the left-wing Party of Workers (PT) in a bid to fight poverty.

The appointment of Braga raises to seven the number of military men in the 20-member Cabinet, not counting Vice President Hamilton Mourao, a retired general.

"This militarization, especially of the inner circle of ministers in the Planalto Palace, reinforces the image Bolsonaro wants to have, that he is not allied to any political group," said Leonardo Barreto at Vector Analysis political consultancy.

Bolsonaro would thus begin his second year of mandate going back to the military alliance that brought him to power. This initial alliance had been slightly weakened throughout the last year by the government's ultra-conservative leaders, led by evangelical gurus, disciples of controversial writer Olavo de Carvalho and the sons of Bolsonaro.

This ultra-conservative side was awarded several of Bolsonaro's first year's failures, from controversial statements to allegations of corruption, among other scandals.

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