Brazil's Bolsonaro shuffles cabinet, recreates labor ministry
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro appointed center-right Senator Ciro Nogueira as his chief of staff on Wednesday to shore up waning political support in Congress, and recreated the labor ministry to deal with record unemployment, Reuters reports.
Nogueira, a leader of the Progressives Party (PP) to which lower house speaker Arthur Lira also belongs, will be Bolsonaro's closest aide and minister, replacing a retired general.
His appointment is aimed at improving the far-right president's relations with Congress, where there have been dozens of requests for his impeachment as his popularity drops during the world's second-deadliest COVID-19 outbreak.
A Senate investigation has uncovered potential irregularities in the government's purchase of COVID-19 vaccines needed to fight a pandemic whose gravity Bolsonaro has minimized despite the deaths of more than 550,000 Brazilians.
Only the United States has recorded more deaths from the pandemic.
Bolsonaro also appointed Onyx Lorenzoni to head a new Ministry of Labor and Social Security tasked with tackling record unemployment exacerbated by the pandemic. Brazil's jobless rate was at a historic high of 14.7% in April.