October 24, 2018 / 10:02 AM / 21 days ago

Foreseeing landslide victory, Brazil's Bolsonaro begins considering Cabinet picks

BRASILIA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Brazil's right-wing presidential front-runner, Jair Bolsonaro, has begun work to choose high-ranking ministers in his government, underscoring expectations of a landslide victory in Sunday's runoff election.

The Social Liberal Party (PSL) candidate has already assigned names to several posts, although appointments depend on Bolsonaro's victory at the polls and conversations with top advisers, PSL party chief Gustavo Bebianno said on Tuesday.

A full slate of selections to head ministries and state-owned companies will be announced within 30 days after the election, Bebianno told reporters. The appointments do not require congressional approval.

Bolsonaro also intends to make changes in the leadership of state firms including Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (Eletrobras), Bebianno added.

"The menu already has many names. To avoid speculation, we will only give them after the election," he said.

Bebianno said central bank President Ilan Goldfajn was a "good name" to continue in the job and that Bolsonaro had not ruled him out. Bolsonaro and his choice for finance minister, Paulo Guedes, will make the ultimate decision, Bebianno said.

Controversy surrounding the use of mass online messaging in support of Bolsonaro has failed to derail his substantial lead over left-wing Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad.

An Ibope opinion poll released late on Tuesday showed that Bolsonaro had 57 percent voter support to Haddad's 43 percent, a slightly narrower gap than Bolsonaro's 59 percent to 41 percent lead over Haddad in the polling firm's previous survey.

Bolsonaro has denied Haddad's accusations that he asked supporters to fund mass messaging on the mobile messaging application WhatsApp, which would be a violation of campaign laws. Brazil's top electoral court last Friday approved the opening of a probe into the matter.

But Bolsonaro, a seven-term congressman, has also vowed to fight to let users forward text, audio and video messages over WhatsApp to hundreds of recipients. WhatsApp owner Facebook Inc said on Tuesday it had no plans to change its restrictions in the country that limit message forwarding to 20 recipients at a time.

Reporting by Jake Spring and Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Editing by Peter Cooney

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