Lula to travel to China and other weekly topics

BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 20 Mar 2023 by Murillo de Aragão and Cristiano Noronha

The government should submit the new fiscal framework to Congress. On Wednesday, March 22, the Central Bank will decide on the basic interest rate. President Lula (PT) will travel to China, joined by ministers, legislators, and businessmen.

This week's Talking Points:

* Lula to travel to China

President Lula's (PT) trip to China fulfills his government's initial goal in the field of diplomacy to show Brazil's neutrality between the United States and China and to seek to benefit from the relationship with each country. But the world is more polarized than during Lula’s first two administrations, and Lula, even with his strong interest in foreign policy, needs to be attentive to details that are normally not taken into account by close advisors. These include growing tension between the US and China, technology, and positioning on the war in Ukraine.

* Ministerial volunteerism

In a meeting with ministers on Tuesday, March 14, President Lula stated that nothing should be announced publicly without first consulting with the Office of the Chief of Staff, led by Rui Costa (PT-BA). Since the beginning of their mandate, some ministers have announced measures without negotiating them internally.

* The PT and PL strategic committees

The choices made by the PT and PL in the distribution of the chairs of the thematic committees of the House reveal both of their strategies. The installation of these committees will bring conflicts involving the government and the opposition.

* IPEC: Lula's government is approved by 41%

The poll conducted by the IPEC institute published on Sunday, March 19, points out that the Lula government has positive ratings (great/good) of 41%. This percentage is the same as in the FHC government (1995) in the same period, but lower than that recorded by the governments of Lula I (2003), Lula II (2007), and Dilma (2011).

* Lula's popularity in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte

Although Lula's positive ratings of around 40% indicate that the government has a relatively comfortable approval, a portion of public opinion is also very critical of the government, especially in the state capitals of the three largest states in the country. As a consequence of this resistance, the president's dependence on the Northeast, on the lower-income electorate, and on the inhabitants of the peripheries, is increasing.

* Analysis of MPs is halting the legislative agenda

In Congress, 25 provisional measures (MPs) are pending analysis, and the agenda remains blocked by the lack of agreement between the presidents of the House and the Senate on the procedure for processing these matters. This issue is back on the agenda, with the same conflicts between the House and the Senate; the government also has a strong interest in change.

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