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Policy Center In first interview after removal, former AM governor accuses senator of ‘breaking deal’ in election

Former Governor José Melo (left) and Senator Eduardo Braga (right) (Art: Catarine Hak/Cenarium)

Marcela Leiros – from Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – The former governor of Amazonas José Melo, who had his mandate revoked in 2017, said in an interview this morning, Monday, 8, in the first public statement after his arrest, that he was a victim of Senator Eduardo Braga (MDB) during his government. Melo told how he scared “old caciques” and fell for “political long legs”. He is affiliated with the Republican Party of Social Order (Pros) and is launching a pre-candidacy for state lawmaker.

Melo was arrested in January 2018 along with former first lady Edilene Oliveira. Both, and a group of former secretaries, were indicted for involvement in embezzling state health funds. Among the crimes were passive corruption, concealment of assets and criminal association.

José Melo recalled that he was invited by Braga to be part of his government at the time and that the two had a “firm commitment”. Eduardo Braga was the author of the investigation that culminated in the impeachment of José Melo.

“He asked me: ‘Are you coming to help me? What do you want from your life? I said I wanted to be governor one day, he said: ‘very well, help me now and I will help you later, it is a commitment’. This commitment was made, but later it was not kept”, said the politician.

“My plans were to have a candidacy for the government with him [Eduardo Braga], so I talked to him, so let’s make a plaque? He answered me with a smile: ‘Do you think I will lose an election to a little teacher from the interior? Then I answered him: ‘Well, while you sleep until 11 a.m., I am already awake at 5 a.m. praying and at 6 a.m. I am already working. That year I won with 173 thousand votes difference”, declared Melo.

The former governor of Amazonas, José Melo (Promotion/Internet)

Elections

José Melo was elected governor of Amazonas in 2014 in the second round, with 55.54% of the valid votes against his opponent Eduardo Braga’s 44.46%. Since that year Braga has been trying to become the head of the state executive again, but has not been successful in the electoral race. At the time, Braga filed an Electoral Judicial Investigation Action (Aije) against the former governor and former vice-governor Henrique Oliveira for abuse of power, filed by the Regional Electoral Court of Amazonas (TRE-AM) in 2019.

In 2017, Braga contested the Amazonas supplementary election – determined after the cassation of José Melo – against Amazonino Mendes, but also lost the election. In 2018, Braga did not run for election to the State Government, but to the dispute for the Senate, when he was elected.

For the 2022 elections, Braga calls himself the “hope of Amazonas” and is an eventual candidate for state government. The senator accelerated, from the second semester of this year, his visits to the state’s municipalities to divulge the actions of his mandate in Congress, using a more aggressive speech against politicians that he considers opponents and intoning phrases about life perspective to the people who accompany him in the meetings.