Brazil`s defence minister quits in comment flap

Last Updated: Friday, August 5, 2011 - 12:08

Brasilia: Brazilian Defence Minister Nelson Jobim resigned late Thursday after a newspaper said he had criticised two Cabinet colleagues, becoming the third Cabinet member to quit since the administration took office January 01.

Communications Minister Helena Chagas said Jobim submitted his resignation to President Dilma Rousseff and would be replaced by former foreign minister Celso Amorim.

Earlier this year, Cabinet chief Antonio Palocci resigned amid questions over how his personal wealth soared while he was a legislator in 2006-10, and Transportation Minister Alfredo Nascimento stepped down following allegations of corruption in his agency.

Jobim`s resignation came after the newspaper Folha de S Paulo published extracts of an interview that the defence minister gave to Piaui magazine. The issue of the magazine with the full interview was to go on sale on Friday.

Jobim reportedly called Institutional Relations Minister Ideli Salvatti "weak" and said Cabinet chief Gleisi Hoffmann "doesn`t even know Brasilia”, the nation`s capital.

Jobim released a statement denying he criticised his fellow ministers, calling it "part of a game of intrigues" against him.

He was appointed by the previous president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and had already irritated Rousseff by telling a television station last week that he voted for her rival in elections last October.

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First Published: Friday, August 5, 2011 - 12:08

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