Ambition may be Achilles heel of Brazil's next finance minister
By Alonso Soto
BRASILIA May 11 (Reuters) - Henrique Meirelles, the man tipped to be Brazil's next finance minister, will draw on his stellar reputation as central bank governor between 2003 and 2010, when the economy boomed, to revive investors' confidence in Latin America's ailing giant.
But former colleagues and politician insiders warn that the long-time Wall Street banker's ambition to one day be president could raise tensions within a new governing coalition.
Meirelles unsuccessfully vied to be President Dilma Rousseff's vice-presidential running mate in 2010. Now the man who beat him, Michel Temer, is expected to entrust Meirelles with hauling the world's ninth largest economy out of its deepest recession in decades.
Temer will take the helm of an interim government on Thursday if, as expected, the Senate votes to put Rousseff on trial for breaking budget rules.
Investors believe Meirelles' close ties to the business and political world will help Temer turn things around after years of mismanagement by Rousseff.
But members of Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) are concerned Meirelles' political ambitions could antagonize future cabinet peers ahead of the 2018 presidential election.
Temer's likely pick as foreign minister, Jose Serra, an influential senator who nurtures hopes for 2018 after two failed presidential runs, has demanded a bigger say in trade policy in the new government, putting him on a possible collision course with Meirelles.
"Meirelles is the perfect man for the job, but I'm afraid that his presidential ambitions could be harmful for the coalition," said an official close to the top brass of the Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Temer's main ally in Congress. Continuación...