LatinNews Daily - 06 January 2022

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BRAZIL: São Paulo precandidate targeted in police investigation

On 5 January, Márcio França, a former governor of the Brazilian state of São Paulo (2018-2019), denounced a police investigation against him for alleged corruption as political persecution.  


França, who was elected vice-president of São Paulo state in 2014 but took on the top job for nine months after Geraldo Alckmin stepped down to run in the 2018 presidential election, is expected to run for the São Paulo governorship in this October’s general election. He represents the centre-left Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB). If the corruption allegations and police investigation go any further, they could damage his electoral chances and shift the prospects for the São Paulo gubernatorial race. 

  • Several properties linked to França were searched during an operation by São Paulo’s civil police yesterday, as part of a wider investigation into suspected corruption in São Paulo’s health sector. França is suspected of being implicated in the criminal scheme, through which public funds were embezzled through fraudulent contracts in the public health sector.
  • The politician denounced the police operation as a political one on Twitter, directing veiled criticism at the current gubernatorial administration led by João Doria. “The 2022 elections have started. First political operation,” França wrote, adding that it was “a political operation and not a police one. It is, of course, of a politico-electoral nature”, and denying any connection to the other individuals and companies targeted in the investigation.
  • In a Datafolha poll from mid-December, França appears third in voting intentions with 13%, behind Alckmin (28%) and former São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad (2013-2017) from the left-wing Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) on 19%. However, neither Alckmin’s nor Haddad’s candidacy is guaranteed, which could leave França at the head of the race for the governorship of Brazil’s largest state.  
  • Many political figures came out in support of França yesterday, including Alckmin, who publicly defended his former running mate’s integrity, and former president Lula da Silva (2003-2011), who leads the polls for the presidential race. 

Looking Ahead: There is speculation that Alckmin may be joining the PSB to run as Lula’s vice-presidential candidate in October, an alliance which would increase França’s chances of winning the São Paulo race – if his reputation has not taken too much of a hit from the corruption allegations.

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