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Brazilian minister resigns

BRASILIA (AP, Reuter) - The Brazilian Finance Minister, Paulo Haddad, resigned yesterday and was replaced by Eliseu Rezende, the former head of the state electricity company, Eletrobras. Mr Rezende is Brazil's third economy chief in five months. The Central Bank president, Gustavo Loyola, also resigned, but will stay on until his replacement is announced.

In a television interview, Mr Haddad said he had resigned in protest against political appointments to technical posts in the Central Bank by President Itamar Franco. But his resignation came the day after President Franco had publicly criticised him in the press over delays in introducing anti-inflationary policies. 'The President does not bring down the finance minister - inflation does,' he said. Inflation has been running at almost 30 per cent a month in Brazil, and Mr Haddad had said earlier that it would remain at this level for at least a few more months, until his stabilisation programme was ready.

Mr Haddad was also strongly opposed to proposals by President Franco to introduce price controls, which would undermine the free-market policies the minister supported.

His resignation came on the same day that a team from the International Monetary Fund was due to arrive in Brazil to review the performance of the economy as a preliminary to renegotiating an existing agreement.