February 23, 2017 / 12:56 AM / 5 months ago

Brazil's foreign minister Serra resigns citing health reasons

2 Min Read

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra handed in his resignation to President Michel Temer on Wednesday, citing health reasons, Temer's office said in a statement.

Serra, a former presidential candidate, said his health condition did not allow him to withstand the travel required by the job. He gave no details on his heath but said doctors told him a recovery would take four months.

Serra said he would return to the Senate, where he has a seat, and work to push through Temer's reform agenda aimed at restoring growth to Latin America's largest economy.

Serra joined the cabinet in May when Temer took over from impeached leftist Dilma Rousseff and quickly moved Brazil away from an ideologically driven foreign policy to one focused on trade promotion.

Serra, 74, twice ran for president unsuccessfully and is often named as a potential candidate in 2018, though his centrist PSDB party is unlikely to field him.

He came to political prominence as health minister during Fernando Henrique Cardoso's presidency (1994–2002) when he defied the international pharmaceuticals industry and allowed generic copies of brand-name drugs to be made in Brazil without the permission of the company that owns the patent.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Sandra Maler

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