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Wed 12
MBL leader wants to be Speaker of the House and demands debate between candidates

MBL leader wants to be Speaker of the House and demands debate between candidates

In an interview to Gazeta do Povo, federal deputy-elect also comments the challenges of the new government and the launching of MBL Estudantil

Renan Barbosa

Elected for his first term as a federal deputy, with 465,310 votes, 22-year-old Kim Kataguiri (DEM-SP), a law student and leader of Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL), is already an old acquaintance of the Brazilian political scene. Now, he wants to go beyond. In a telephone interview to Gazeta do Povo, he reaffirmed his candidacy to Speaker of the House, and defended holding a public debate between those who wish to be elected for the office.

“I am able to build the bridge with the government and keep the agenda running,” said Kataguiri. “I have been proposing a debate between those who want to be Speakers of the House, because if it becomes public that I am not prepared for the office, that I don’t know the legislative process, it will become clear that I am not ready to be a candidate,” he said. The platform for the debate could be TV Câmara, newspapers, or even an internet transmission, suggests the deputy-elect.

Social Security Reform

His priority, whatever his destiny in the Chamber is, is to reform the social security system. For the deputy, it is clear that the current situation of the public accounts is unmanageable, and that the biggest challenge for the government and the sectors which back the reform is making the population aware of this urgency. “It is fundamental to structure this reform so that it can be deep, so that we may never again need to do another one,” he said.

Besides, its approval would mean, for the president-elect, “a huge demonstration of gigantic political power which would make congressmen vote along with the government.” For Kataguiri, an eventual government defeat in this area would be an obstacle for other priority reforms, such as tax and political ones.

DEM in Bolsonaro’s government

An active participant in the negotiations and talks to form the composition of the Chamber, Kataguiri assesses that Bolsonaro’s government is not negotiating support with parties in exchange for offices. “There is no such talk,” he claimed.

When questioned on the room Democratas (DEM), the party to which he is affiliated, will have in the future Bolsonaro government, Kataguiri says the party has not negotiated for posts. “DEM can’t even be considered to be a part of the government base, because such ministry appointments have not been decided by the party, but by Bolsonaro himself.”

Three ministers appointed by Bolsonaro are affiliated to DEM, which makes it the party with most members in the ministerial cabinet. Deputy Onyx Lorenzoni (DEM-RS) will be Chief of Staff, deputy Tereza Cristina (DEM-MS),  Agriculture, and deputy Luiz Henrique Mandetta (DEM-MS), the Health ministry.

The MBL leader stresses that Bolsonaro has appointed names with technical capabilities to form his ministries, even though, in his point of view, that is not the biggest challenge faced by the president-elect. “I think that the government’s problem will be more political, regarding what needs to be done at the National Congress, and not technical,” he said.

Non-Partisan School

This week, MBL launched an academic branch called MBL Estudantil, which has as its goal “to guide, support and prepare students with lectures, meetings, video classes and reading recommendations so they can fight left-wing indoctrination within educational institutions and classrooms.”

“The project’s goal is for students to have a liberal and conservative view which they wouldn’t be able to learn at school,” summed up Kataguiri. The deputy-elect, however, does not consider this a supplementary effort to the Escola sem Partido (Non-Partisan School) bill (PL 7,180/2014), which aims to make students and teachers learn their rights and duties at school.

Kataguiri, by the way, is a guaranteed vote for the bill’s approval, if it gets postponed for the next parliamentary term. “I support the report done by deputy Flavinho [PSC-SP]”, he said. The report’s voting has been obstructed in the Special Commission organized to discuss the issue and has already been postponed four times since members of parliament began to discuss it, after the elections’ second round.

The Escola sem Partido movement, however, plans to keep backing the bill which they consider more broad, PL 867/2015, by deputy Izalci (PSDB-DF), who is appending it to PL 7,180/2014.

Liberal and conservative turn

Escola sem Partido is just one of the agendas that might gain strength with Brazil’s new political configuration, assesses Kataguiri. “You should expect a liberal and conservative turn,” he said, regarding the result of the ballots in 2018, but also warned against the danger of frustrated expectations. “The regimental time to approve proposals is longest than the population expects,” he said.

Collision course with philosopher guru of Bolsonaro’s government family nucleus

Known for his videos posted on the internet about economy since before he was 18 years old, the then-high school student became notorious after founding MBL in 2014, and the subsequent role his movement played during the impeachment of ex-president Dilma Rousseff (PT).

The way they conducted the impeachment process, however, drove the then-student and MBL towards a collision course with philosopher Olavo de Carvalho, who became a sort of “guru” for the family wing of Bolsonaro’s government. He was directly responsible for appointing two ministers for the government: Ernesto Fraga Araújo, for the Ministry of Foreign Relations, and Ricardo Vélez Rodríguez, for the Ministry of Education.

Olavo called the 2015 street demonstrations a “premature ejaculation”, and criticized harshly the involvement of MBL’s leaders with party politics.

Nowadays, Kataguiri minimizes this antagonism. “This is a very small issue, something which was small then and now doesn’t even need to be taken into account,” he said when asked on how it could affect his relationship with the future government.

READ IT IN PORTUGUESE:

Líder do MBL quer ser presidente da Câmara e cobra debate entre os candidatos

Em entrevista à Gazeta do Povo, deputado federal eleito também comenta os desafios do novo governo e o lançamento do MBL Estudantil