It was notable that one of the first joint ‘receptions’ held this week by Rosuseff, Salvatti and Gleisi Hoffmann, Palocci’s successor, was with PR senators, including powerful figures like Clésio Andrade, a union strongman (from the Confederacão Nacional dos Transportes); Blairo Maggi, the ‘king of soya’ from Matto Grosso; and Magno Malta, linked to the country’s evangelical church. Rousseff and Salvatti also moved this week to fill some of the pending second tier government appointments with officials linked to the PR, the Partido Socialista Brasileiro and other allied parties. At the end of the week congress approved (by 272 votes to 76) an executive provisional measure to loosen up the concession process for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics works projects.
A final challenge for Rousseff lies with the PT, which is divided over her performance to date, and the fallout from the Palocci crisis. There are doubts about the relationship between Rousseff and Maia. After appointing Hoffmann, a Dilmista, to replace Palocci, Salvatti, a known Lulista, was possibly a sop to those sections of the PT that have quarrels with Rousseff. Crucially, Salvatti has worked alongside the senate president José Sarney (PMDB) and has a better reputation with the PMDB than Hoffmann. Salvatti, more of a political animal than Hoffmann, this week stressed that PT party unity is “obligatory”, signalling that dissent among the base will not be tolerated. Lula has rowed in behind the scenes to reinforce that message.
Latin American Weekly Report, 16 June 2011