LatinNews Daily - 09 June 2022

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BRAZIL: ‘Third Way’ agrees on presidential candidate

On 8 June, the leaders of Brazil’s two most-established centrist parties, Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) and Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (MDB,) agreed in principle to launch MDB senator Simone Tebet as their presidential candidate, making her the standard bearer of what is left of the ‘Third Way’.

Analysis:

Polls show the October election is a two-horse race between the rightwing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and former leftist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2011). So, nobody else really matters much. Except that the more candidates there are, especially to the left of centre, the less likely Lula is to win outright in the first round. Tebet’s candidacy is also significant because she is only one of two women with any kind of support among 13 presidential candidates.

  • Yesterday the PSDB head Bruno Araújo agreed with the MDB leadership on Tebet after sorting out impasses on alliances in several states. PSDB senator Tasso Jereissati is seen as Tebet’s possible running mate.
  • This election will mark the first time in its history that the PSDB, which has been plagued by infighting and high-profile intrigues, will not field its own presidential candidate.
  • One by one, potential candidates that could have blazed the trail of a third way fell by the wayside. Bolsonaro’s former justice minister Sergio Moro (2019-2020) was the first to drop out, in late March. Then on 23 May former governor of São Paulo and centre-right businessman João Doria gave up.
  • A PoderData opinion poll taken 5-7 June showed support for Lula and Bolsonaro virtually unchanged from two weeks earlier at 43% and 35%, respectively. In a possible run-off vote between the two alone, Lula would win 50%-40%. A Datafolha opinion poll in May gave Lula a lead of over 20 percentage points.
  • Moro suffered another setback this week when the top electoral court (TSE) denied him the right to run for office in São Paulo. The former judge, who was instrumental in putting Lula behind bars in a corruption conviction that has since been overturned, has seen his political ambitions repeatedly frustrated and is now looking for a public office to bid for in his home state, Rio Grande do Sul.

Looking Ahead: Lula has governed with the MDB before and Tebet’s performance in the first round will help determine the price she and her party can charge for her endorsement of Lula in the second round.

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