Brazil's Rousseff Said to Be Pressured to Name Lula Minister

  • Lula was detained last week in relation to a corruption probe
  • Supreme Court must authorize investigation of cabinet members

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is under pressure from her own party and some aides to protect her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva by appointing him to her cabinet, according to a person familiar with her thinking.

Neither Rousseff nor Lula, who was detained by police last week in relation to a corruption probe, are convinced by the idea, said the person, who asked not to be named because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Nominating Lula as cabinet member was first discussed six months ago, and he has been most strongly considered to head the Foreign Relations Ministry, according to a second person briefed on the matter who also requested anonymity.

Under Brazilian law, only the Supreme Court can authorize the investigation, imprisonment and trial of cabinet members. Lula’s detention had been ordered by federal judge Sergio Moro in Parana state.

Appointing Lula as a minister should be a last-resort move as it could backfire, said David Fleischer, professor emeritus of politics at Universidade de Brasilia. “It would look like a partial admission of guilt and tie Dilma’s fate to Lula’s,” he said in a phone interview.

Lula’s foundation, known as Instituto Lula, said it wouldn’t comment on “speculation.” The presidential palace didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper had previously reported that Rousseff agreed to making Lula a minister to avoid his possible imprisonment.

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