June 21, 2019 / 2:52 PM / 25 days ago

Brazil's Bolsonaro changes view, says could run for re-election

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends an evangelical march to celebrate Corpus Christi in Sao Paulo, Brazil June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Less than six months since he took office, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro says he could run for a second term even though he promised during the election campaign to do away with re-election for Brazilian presidents.

After attending a religious march by Evangelical Christians on Thursday, Bolsonaro said if Congress does not substantially reform Brazil’s political system, he will consider running again in 2022.

“If there is a good political reform, I could even throw out the possibility of re-election. But if there isn’t, and the people want it, we are here to continue for another four years,” he told reporters.

A former Army captain and seven-term Congressman, Bolsonaro was elected in October by Brazilian voters angered by widespread corruption and rising violence. He promised to clean up politics by ending the horse-trading with Congress practiced by past presidents to be able to govern Latin America’s largest country.

So far, Bolsonaro has not mustered enough support among lawmakers to pass the most important item on his agenda, an overhaul of the costly pension system to avoid a fiscal crisis.

He has governed by decree on such issues as relaxing gun laws and downsizing government, but his popularity has plummeted since the election as he pursued secondary matters like easing traffic regulations while the economy has faltered.

Bolsonaro has fired three ministers over internal disputes, including his former campaign manager Gustavo Bebianno and retired General Carlos Santos Cruz, a close military aide, who were criticized by his sons.

On Friday he announced in a Twitter message that a military police major and lawyer, Jorge Antonio Oliveira, would become the secretary general of the presidency, replacing retired General Floriano Peixoto, who will head the postal service.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by David Gregorio

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