By Marcela Ayres and Bernardo Caram
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s nomination to head the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) faces resistance among allies of leftist presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who want him to have a formal voice if he wins the job this month.
The government of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has already begun seeking regional support for its candidate to run the development bank. Brazil aims to nominate former central bank chief Ilan Goldfajn in the coming days, according to a source familiar with the government’s plans.
However, two advisers close to Lula said they believed the vote by IDB leaders, scheduled for November 20, should be postponed to next year so that Brazil’s nomination reflects the will of a newly elected government.
Lula’s lead over Bolsonaro has narrowed in recent polls, but most still show him with a lead of around 5 percentage points ahead of the Oct. 30 runoff election.
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The IDB elects a new president after the dismissal of Mauricio Claver-Carone in an ethical scandal. Each member country is entitled to one nomination, which is open to change until November 11, giving Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes discretion regardless of the outcome of Brazil’s presidential vote.
Celso Amorim, who was foreign minister during Lula’s presidency from 2003 to 2010, said in an interview this week that he personally thought the IDB vote should be delayed so that Brazil can participate in the process with “a government legitimized by the ticket”.
Lula’s former finance minister, Guido Mantega, who also emphasized that he was giving his personal point of view, suggested that if Lula wins the presidential race he could put pressure on the US government to delay the IDB vote.
A third adviser to the former president, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that instead of Goldfajn, Lula would be more inclined to turn to an economist like Andre Lara Resende. Part of the team that designed the Real Plan to defeat Brazil’s hyperinflation in the 1990s, Resende declared his vote for Lula in the first round of presidential elections.
Mantega agreed that Resende was a better option in his opinion.
“Ilan (Goldfajn) is a central banker, Lara Resende once headed the BNDES (Brazilian development bank),” Mantega said. “Managing a central bank is different from managing a development bank, one has their foot on the brake, the other has their foot on the accelerator.”
The US Treasury has said it will not nominate a candidate to succeed Claver-Carone, who was the bank’s first US president in its 62-year history.
Mexico will nominate Alicia Bárcena, former director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said last month.
(Reporting by Marcela Ayres and Bernardo Caram; Additional reporting by Flavia Marreiro; Editing by Brad Haynes and Diane Craft)
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