Brazil's ruling-party presidential hopeful backs privatizing state firms

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's ruling party presidential candidate, Henrique Meirelles, on Wednesday said if he wins the October elections he will promote the privatization of state-run oil giant Petrobras and state banks.

In an interview with Brazilian daily Correio Braziliense, Meirelles said he wants the private sector to play a bigger role to keep companies competitive.

Should he win, the first government-run financial institution to be privatized would be the Caixa Economica Federal, the Federal Savings Bank.

"The Caixa is being prepared for that, with a new statute," said the candidate, adding the institution could eventually be opened to private capital.

Ideally, state companies such as Petrobras or the Bank of Brazil should not be sold to a single controlling entity or individual, because that could lead to private monopolies, he said.

Meirelles, who resigned as economy minister a few weeks ago to hit the campaign trail, is the candidate of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), the same right-of-center party as President Michel Temer.

Most Brazilians are against privatizing Petrobras and other state firms, according to a recent poll commissioned by leading workers' union CUT and carried out by pollster Vox Populi.

Some 49 percent of those queried were against privatizing the Banco do Brasil and Caixa Economica Federal.

Despite being the ruling-party candidate, Meirelles is trailing far behind in the polls, with a scant 1-percent support among eligible voters.

[ Editor: WPY ]


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