|Gustavo Bebianno offers a press conference. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has officially dismissed his key aide in charge of dealings with congress, days after a newspaper linked him to a corruption scandal involving phoney candidates and the misuse of campaign funds. — AFP/VNA Photo|Viet Nam News
BRASÍLIA — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday sacked a close aide who helped get him elected after a storm within his party over suspected improper campaign financing.
Bolsonaro "has decided to dismiss as of today Gustavo Bebianno as minister of the general secretariat of the presidency," spokesman Otavio do Rego Barros told a news conference in Brazilia.
The spokesman did not explain the firing, saying it was a "personal decision" by Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro did not clarify much further in a video he released later that was broadcast by Brazilian media.
He said only that "different points of view on relevant issues brought a need for a re-evaluation".
The president recognised Bebianno had played a vital role in his election campaign. "His work was important to our success," Barros said.
The sacking could impact legislative passage of an upcoming bill Bolsonaro is to present to Congress this week to reform Brazil’s unsustainable pension system. The reform is considered by investors to be the most crucial promise the president made to overhaul Latin America’s biggest economy.
Bebianno, who held cabinet rank and was former leader of the ultraconservative PSL, was replaced by a retired general, Floriano Peixoto, boosting to eight the number of military men running Bolsonaro’s 22 ministries. — AFP