South America: And Brazil Waits

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NEWSMAKERS

AROUND THE WORLD

International financial markets are waiting to see whom Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will select to fill the country's top two financial posts come January 1.

As Global Finance went to press, Antonio Palocci was the leading contender for finance minister. Now coordinator of the transitional team that is readying the way for Lula to assume power, Palocci recently returned to his job as mayor of Ribeirao Preto in Sao Paulo after a long leave of absence to coordinate Lula's election campaign. In November Lula formally invited Palocci to assume a Cabinet post in his new government. While some analysts are concerned about Palocci's lack of economic training, others note that the finance ministry post is a political slot that requires a leader adept at handling the financial community-something Palocci has been doing since October by assuring investors that the new government will follow sound economic policies and a path of fiscal austerity. …