Congresswoman Tereza Cristina, the leader of Brazil’s farm caucus, will be the country’s agriculture minister under President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, a spokesman for his transition team said on Wednesday.
Bolsonaro, who takes office on Jan. 1, will not merge the agriculture and environment ministries as had been previously discussed, the deputy leader of the farm caucus, lawmaker Alceu Moreira, said earlier.
The plan had faced opposition from environmentalists, who said it would lead deforestation to explode, and from the farm sector that feared it would strain trade relationships.
Cristina is an agronomist from the major farm state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in a country where the fight for a more equal distribution of land is often criminalized. She is the first woman to be named as a minister by Bolsonaro, who has a long history of making misogynistic remarks.
Bolsonaro, who has said he wants to reduce the number of ministries, said on Wednesday he planned to merge the labor ministry with another, without providing details.
Augusto Heleno, the head of a group of retired army generals who backed Bolsonaro's presidential bid, will take the top security position in the new cabinet, a spokesman for the transition team said on Wednesday.
Heleno had been announced as the next defense minister. But Bolsonaro will instead tap a senior navy officer as defense minister to balance the preponderance of retired army generals in key posts, according to Vice President-elect Hamilton Moura, himself a retired army general, as Bolsonaro was facing criticisms in a country where the memory of the former dictatorship is still recent.