Brazilian Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles gestures as he announces the new fiscal target, during a press conference at the Finance Ministry in Brasilia, on August 15, 2017. (SERGIO LIMA / AFP)
BRASILIA - Congressmen from Brazil's Social Democratic Party (PSD) on Wednesday invited Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles to run for president in 2018, growing the list of potential contenders from within President Michel Temer's fragmented coalition.
Meirelles, after meeting with PSD lawmakers at his house in Brasilia, wrote on Twitter that he felt honored but was not a candidate. The PSD leader in the lower house of Congress, Marcos Montes, nevertheless said Meirelles received the invitation with "enthusiasm" but would not respond immediately.
Reuters reported late in August, citing a source close to Meirelles, that he wanted to run for president on the PSD ticket, but knew he would have a strong chance only if the economy improved substantially.
Meirelles, in his Twitter post, said that he was focusing his energies on helping Brazil obtain "sustainable growth" after emerging from its worst recorded recession.
Under Brazilian rules, ministers who wish to run in the October 2018 election will need to leave their posts by April, although a formal register would only happen in August.
Other potential contenders being floated by ruling parties include Sao Paulo state governor Geraldo Alckmin and Sao Paulo city mayor Jo?o Doria Jr., both from the PSDB party.
A civil engineer by training, Meirelles is the former chairman of now defunct BankBoston Corp and former president of Brazil's central bank.