Brazil’s new sports minister vows ‘success’

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Rio: Brazil’s new sports minister vowed Friday that the Olympics would be an “absolute success” despite the turmoil roiling the host country, whose president has been suspended pending an impeachment trial.

Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani took up the job Thursday after interim president Michel Temer took power from sidelined leftist leader Dilma Rousseff, whose popularity nosedived amid a deep recession and massive corruption scandal.

Construction and preparations for the Games, which open in Rio de Janeiro on August 5, “are advancing well, respecting the timeline, and I’m absolutely convinced we’ll have no problem,” Picciani, a 36-year-old former congressman, told public news service Agencia Brasil.

“Brazil’s Olympic Games will be an absolute success and will undoubtedly boost the country’s image on the international stage, as well as leave an important legacy for the benefit of the population,” he said.

Picciani is Brazil’s third sports minister this year and the fifth since Rio was named to host the Olympics seven years ago.

He is a member of Temer’s center-right PMDB, but was one of the rare party members to vote against impeaching Rousseff, who is accused of illegal accounting maneuvers to paper over the government’s deficit.

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