Brazil President appoints second woman to key post

Dilma Rousseff named Ideli Salvatti as her new Head of Institutional Relations.

Updated: Jun 11, 2011, 15:37 PM IST

Brasilia: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff continued her cabinet reshuffle, appointing the second woman this week to a key post in her administration.

Rousseff named Fisheries Minister Ideli Salvatti, 59, as her new Head of Institutional Relations.

On Tuesday, Rousseff, in the first major scandal of her administration, was forced to remove chief of staff Antonio Palocci for his alleged involvement in an influence-peddling scheme.

Palocci was replaced by Gleisi Hoffmann, 45.

Both Hoffmann and Salvatti are members of Rousseff`s Workers Party (PT), prompting an editorial writer for the daily O Globo to note that Rousseff had surrounded herself with women in her own image whom he called "Amazons of the PT."

Savlatti is known for her explosive temper, but in her new position she is responsible for the delicate job of coordinating relations between the government and its coalition partners and opposition parties.

"We can`t believe it," one PT member told the daily O Globo newspaper. "It`s like putting an angry elephant inside a porcelain shop."

Savlatti was known in the Senate for her "aggressive style defending the government of former president Luiz Inacio Lula," said O Globo, referring to Rousseff`s predecessor and political godfather.

In her first announcement on Friday, Salvatti tried to calm those fears. "I do not know if I will be the little Ideli of `peace and love` but I would like to be the Ideli who listens more and negotiates more," she said.

"Peace and love" is an allusion to former president Lula, who changed his former radical labour-movement style to one that was more moderate and conciliatory to win the Brazilian presidency in 2002.

Bureau Report