Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced a major cabinet reshuffle and limited salary cuts for top government officials in a bid to shore up her power base.Ms. Rousseff cut eight ministries and 3,000 workers in a nod to austerity.
As part of public sector cost-cutting measures, she trimmed her own salary and that of deputy ministers Brazilian news website G1 reported.
She trimmed her own salary by 10%, along with those of the vice president and the heads of Brazil’s remaining 31 ministries. She said 20% of her administration’s costs will also be axed.
The move appeared to express solidarity with less privileged sectors of the society that have seen social programs curtailed as the government reacted to an economic slowdown by implementing unpopular austerity measures.
Rousseff also dissolved or combined ministerial posts, bringing the total from 39 to 31, and gave the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), a key group that was threatening to abandon her ruling left-leaning coalition, a larger cabinet presence.
Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT) continued to hold the most number of cabinet posts, or nine, but the PMDB, the party of her vice president Michel Temer, picked up the portfolio of the new Ministry of Health out of a total of seven. The remainder were distributed among minority political groups.
At a ceremony at the presidential headquarters of Planalto, Rousseff acknowledged the changes were designed to secure congressional support for her administration, and bolster political stability to meet the challenges of the economic crisis.
“This reform aims to update the government’s political base. We are making a more balanced coalition. This is a legitimate measure by a coalition government. We need to build an atmosphere of congressional cohesion and dialogue,” said Rousseff.