New Aide to Brazilian President Has a Mission: To Talk to Friends and Foes of Government

Ideli Salvatti As she took office earlier this week, Ideli Salvatti declared that her mission will be to ensure that there is a good dialogue between the Brazilian Congress and the government of Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff. Ideli is the new head of the Secretariat of Institutional Relations (Secretaria de Relações Institucionais da Presidência da República), which makes her basically an assistant to the president for legislative affairs.

She declared that over the years she has won more battles “through conciliating opinions than by disagreeing” and that she intends to be “firm with regard to principles while affable in approach.” She said she would discuss each bill in Congress and make sure that promises were kept. She added that her central task would be keeping congressional allies unified.

“My mission will be to guarantee open lines of communication between the parliament and the government of president Dilma Rousseff and vice president Michel Temer.

“The central task is to ensure unity and respect for all the political parties in the government’s congressional alliance, at the same time there is a respectful and republican debate with opposition political parties,” declared the new minister.

“My job will be to talk to everybody. The government and the opposition can make contributions to viable good relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.”

Ideli Salvatti was born in São Paulo, studied physics at the Federal University of Paraná, but since the mid-1970s has lived in Santa Catarina where she was long involved in worker movements and human rights.

She worked as a teacher and was one of the founders of the PT in Joinville (Santa Catarina) in 1980, becoming a member of the state Board of Directors. She was also active in the teachers union of Santa Catarina.

In 1994 she was elected a state deputy and reelected in 1998. In 2002 she became the first woman elected senator from Santa Catarina. In the Senate, during the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva administration, she was the leader of the PT and, later, the leader of the government.

In 2010, she ran for governor of Santa Catarina and lost. In January, Dilma Rousseff appointed her minister of Fisheries.

When the scandalous enrichment of her Chief of Staff, Antonio Palocci, became public and he left, president Dilma Rousseff was forced to replace a key figure in her administration who took care of both management and liaison.

She put senator Gleisi Hoffman in as Chief of Staff to be a manager and shuffled the head of Institutional Relations, Luiz Sergio, who was part of the Palocci team, over to Fisheries, and Ideli Salvatti from Fisheries to Institutional Relations to handle political liaison.

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