Former car dealer is Brazil’s new mining and energy minister

Former car dealer is Brazil’s new mining and energy minister

Eduardo Braga (54) takes over a ministry dealing with an alleged kickback and bribery scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras. He also faces faces a chaotic electricity sector.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has named former car dealer Eduardo Braga as the country’s new mining and energy minister in a major reshuffle of her cabinet unveiled late Tuesday.

Braga (54), a senator and former governor from Brazil's Amazonas state, takes over a ministry dealing with an alleged kickback and bribery scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras on contracts worth about $4 billion.

One of Braga’s main priorities, Agencia Brasil reports (in Portuguese), will be to address a mounting crunch at Petrobas, which has lost about 85% of its value since 2009 and continues to feel the pinch of the ongoing drop in oil prices.

In addition to the Petrobras scandal, Braga faces a chaotic electricity sector. The country is suffering a severe drought that experts say could threaten hydroelectric dams that supply most of the nation’s power.

Braga and existing minister Edison Lobão, who has repeatedly denied Petrobas-related corruption claims, are members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), one of the nation’s largest and an ally of Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT), providing her government with key support for passing legislation.

The appointed of 13 new ministers is part of Rousseff’s cabinet reshuffle for her second term, starting Jan. 1.