Bolsonaro to appoint conservative ally to Brazil top court - sources

·1-min read

BRASÍLIA/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) -Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro will appoint Andre Mendonca, the current attorney general and a conservative ally, to the Supreme Court, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

The appointment, if confirmed, will add another conservative legal mind to the top bench but will not sway the overall progressive leaning of the 11-person court after years of left-wing and centrist rule.

The Supreme Court has regularly come into conflict with Bolsonaro and last week authorized an investigation into the president for his involvement in a corruption scandal surrounding the procurement of an Indian COVID-19 vaccine. Bolsonaro denies all wrongdoing.

Mendonca told Senators during a lunch meeting earlier on Tuesday that Bolsonaro had chosen him, according to a source present at the lunch.

Earlier in the day, Bolsonaro had told ministers in a private meeting he had chosen Mendonca, according to another source with knowledge of the remarks made in that meeting.

Mendonca, who is an evangelical pastor, will replace outgoing judge Celso de Mello who must - under the rules of the court - retire having reached the age of 75.

His appointment will have to be approved by Brazil's Senate. Mendonca will be the second Supreme Court justice appointed by Bolsonaro. Last year, the president named Nunes Marques to the court.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga, Ricardo Brito and Maria Pia PalermoWriting by Ana Mano and Stephen Eisenhammer, Editing by Franklin Paul and Alistair Bell)

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