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former Bolsonaro ministers come back with a vengeance

Four of Jair Bolsonaro’s former cabinet ministers will get a new job in the Senate, official poll results shown this Sunday.

Damares Alves, Marcos Pontes, Sergio Moro, and Tereza Cristina were elected for eight-year terms in the Senate, which holds three seats for each state.

Mr. Moro is the most famous of the bunch. The former judge, who was the biggest star of the Car Wash investigation, served as Justice Minister under Bolsonaro for slightly more than a year. He resigned in April 2020 after accusing the president of political interference in Federal Police investigations.

He also said the president asked for privileged information on inquiries under the auspices of the Supreme Court, responsible for conducting cases on high-level politicians such as cabinet ministers, lawmakers and the president himself.

Damares Alves served as the Family and Human Rights minister, a platform that was mostly used to push far-right causes. She personally worked to delay Covid vaccination programs for children.

Tereza Cristina and Marcos Pontes served as Agriculture and Science and Technology ministers, respectively.

In addition to four former cabinet ministers, President Bolsonaro also got the news this Sunday that his current vice president, Hamilton Mourão, was elected as senator for the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Vice President and now senator-elect Mr. Mourão was mostly kept away from power during the Bolsonaro administration, and was assigned the role of presiding over the Amazon Council and mostly acting as spokesman for Brazil’s environmental policy, with a more public role than that of the Environment Minister himself.

Senator Davi Alcolumbre from Amapá, responsible for implementing the “secret budget” in the upper house, was re-elected for a second term, in another piece of good news for President Bolsonaro.

Results in the House of Representatives will become more evident in the next few days. One of Bolsonaro’s former Health Ministers, retired General Eduardo Pazuello, is sure to get a seat to represent the state of Rio de Janeiro in Congress.

One of Mr. Pazuello’s first actions as minister, in June 2020, was to hide the total number of Covid deaths on an official government online panel, which led Brazilian press outlets to create their own systems to count the daily numbers of infections and deaths. He was also slow to purchase enough vaccines to protect Brazilian adults.

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