Ex-Central Bank Chief Meets Temer on Possible Brazil Finance Job

  • Says Brazil's priority should be to lower public debt, taxes
  • Party president says no decision made on cabinet appointments

Former Central Bank chief Henrique Meirelles, a top candidate to become Brazil’s finance minister should President Dilma Rousseff be impeached, said the nation’s vice president has a “very appropriate, correct view” of how to deal with its economic challenges.

Meirelles, who spoke with reporters on Saturday after a two-hour meeting with Vice President Michel Temer, declined to say if he’d been asked to serve in a possible Temer cabinet. Rousseff’s impeachment was approved by the lower house and awaits voting by the Senate.

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Folha de S.Paulo reported Sunday that Meirelles let the vice president know he would be open to assuming the post only if he has final say over appointments to a Temer government’s economic team, including planning minister and heads of the central and state-owned banks. A spokesman for Meirelles didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Folha’s report. The newspaper didn’t say how it obtained the information.

“I don’t answer, work or think about hypothesis, I work with reality and what is concrete,” Meirelles said when asked after the meeting in Brasilia if he was a candidate for finance minister. “We never spoke about this kind of hypothesis.”

Democratic Movement President Romero Juca, who was also at the meeting, confirmed that Meirelles, 70, is a candidate for the job, as are former Finance Ministry secretary Murilo Portugal and economist Paulo Rabello de Castro.

Juca said Temer has made no decisions or invitations for his cabinet and is in talks with different economists and specialists to design a plan for addressing Brazil’s economic crisis.

Meirelles said he is available to provide opinions and advice to Temer. The vice president showed “a very appropriate, correct view that I think is positive about the Brazilian economy. I gave him my view’’ about the recession and of what should be done, said Meirelles, who served as president of Brazil’s central bank for eight years. The nation’s priorities should be to bring down public debt and the tax burden, he said.

Gilberto Kassab, head of PSD party, was also in the meeting. Meirelles is a member of PSD party. 

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