LatinNews Daily - 11 November 2021

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BRAZIL: Sergio Moro enters political fray

On 10 November Brazil’s Sergio Moro, the former judge who presided over the ‘Lava Jato’ corruption cases and a former justice minister (2019-2020) in President Jair Bolsonaro’s government, formally entered politics by affiliating himself to the right-wing Podemos (PODE) party. 


Moro, who rose to fame for his work on the Lava Jato cases, receded from the public eye after his acrimonious departure from Bolsonaro’s government in April 2020. A divisive figure and reviled by the Left due to his role in sentencing former president Lula da Silva (2003-2011) to prison, Moro has lost some of his shine amid signs that he acted with political bias. But with a general election due in October 2022, the former judge is positioning himself as a potential presidential pre-candidate for the so-called ‘third way’, the sought-for alternative to both Bolsonaro and Lula. 

  • Moro sealed his affiliation to PODE during an event in Brasília yesterday. Those present welcomed him as a presidential candidate, and Moro delivered a long speech in which he implied that he could join the presidential contest next year. In the past, and notably when he left the judicial profession to join Bolsonaro’s government, Moro had always denied having political ambitions. 
  • Moro is one of many names that are being thrown around as a possible ‘third way’ candidate. A poll by the Quaest consultancy firm, carried out between 3-6 November, puts Moro in third place with 8% of voting intention in two possible first-round scenarios, ahead of other presumptive ‘third way’ contenders, such as Ciro Gomes, a leftist from the Partido Democrático Trabalhista (PDT), or João Doria, the current governor of São Paulo state who will be disputing the nomination for the centre-right Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) later this month. Lula leads the Quaest polls with 47% or 48% of voting intentions, to 21% for Bolsonaro.  

Looking Ahead: Moro benefits from name recognition at national level, which will help him in the earlier polls. But, at this stage, few believe that the former judge stands much of a chance: he lacks political experience or stature, faces strong rejection levels, and his focus on anti-corruption will not resonate with much of the electorate, which is reeling from the economic effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

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