Brazil’s Lula appoints record-high 11 women to his cabinet
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva completed its future cabinet on Thursday with the appointment of 16 ministers, just three days before he is officially sworn-in.
As anticipated, Lula picked Amazon activist Marina Silva as his environment minister. He also announced his planning minister will be Simone Tebet, a former rival turned valuable ally during the electoral campaign.
An Indigenous woman, Sônia Guajajara, will lead the country’s first-ever ministry for Indigenous peoples. In total, Lula has appointed 11 women in his future government, which will take office in the new year – more than any previous administration.
“After a lot of work, after a lot tension, talk and adjustments, we finished assembling the first echelon of the government,” said Lula, who spent weeks naming all 37 future ministers.
To win a particularly tight election against incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the former leftist leader has had to seek allies outside of the Workers’ Party he launched four decades ago, promising a “broad front” against the far-right.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has remained silent as police said Thursday it was looking for more than 30 of his supporters who have been accused of trying to invade the federal police headquarters in Brasilia earlier this month.
Authorities said in a news conference Thursday that the suspects, most of whom are Bolsonaro supporters, also vandalized a police precinct and set several vehicles and buses on fire.
Police said officers were serving 11 arrests warrants and 21 search and seizure warrants in several states, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, as part of “Operation Nero.” They have so far made four arrests.
Brazilian authorities have been faced with outbursts of violence following Bolsonaro’s loss in the Oct. 30 election to President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Angry backers of the far-right leader who refuse to acknowledge his defeat have blocked roads and highways, set vehicles on fires and camped outside military buildings asking for the armed forces to intervene.
Authorities said dozens of people tried to invade Brasilia police headquarters on the night of Dec. 12 with the aim of rescuing a pro-Bolsonaro indigenous leader that had been arrested earlier that day. After being thwarted, the crowd started spreading throughout the city, committing a series of acts of vandalism.
Authorities made no arrests that night and have since been investigating those involved, under the supervision of the Supreme Court, which is in charge of the case.
Police said most of the people targeted by Operation Nero have at some point frequented the pro-Bolsonaro encampment outside the military headquarters in Brasilia.
Lula’s future Justice Minister, Flávio Dino, called for authorities to take down the protests in Brasilia before Sunday’s investiture, calling them “incubators for terrorists.”