Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will be a candidate for the presidency of Brazil. After months of speculation, the former president confirmed on Tuesday that he will register his candidacy on May 7 to contest the presidential elections on October 2, at which time Brazilians will also elect governors, senators and deputies. The second round is scheduled for October 30.
“I am used to participating in elections. I am neither excited nor saddened by the polls. I think we have a good record of governments. I will have the launch of my candidacy on May 7 and then I want to tour Brazil”, published the former president.
The leader of the Workers’ Party (PT) confirms in this way what seemed like a fact after the decision of the Federal Supreme Court to allow him to recover political rights, after the annulment of the convictions for Operation Lava Jato that took him 580 days in prison
The vice-presidential candidate will be Geraldo Alckmin, a historical political opponent of Lula, leader of the Brazilian center-right, candidate in 2006 for the presidency of Brazil for the traditional Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) led by Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Alckmin governed the state of São Paulo twice (2001-2006, 2011-2018) and is Lula’s bid to broaden his electoral base towards the center right at the risk of alienating leftist sectors. “Our will is to rebuild Brazil. From now on, it is Comrade Alckmin and Comrade Lula,” said the former president on April 8, thus sealing the electoral agreement whose main objective is to prevent a new Bolsonaro government.
So far, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva leads all the polls with a vote intention of 43% in the first round, according to the latest data from Datafolha of March 24. Among the inhabitants of the Brazilian Northeast, the poorest region of the country, the percentage rises to 55% while among Brazilian businessmen it drops to 22%.
Bolsonaro second but growing
The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, fails to catch up with Lula but catches his breath in the race to the Planalto. In recent weeks, Bolsonaro achieved 26% support, while in December it did not exceed 22%, according to Datafolha.
Among the variables that may have helped the president is the exit from the pandemic and the effects of the social assistance program among the poorest. But also, the step aside of the former judge and former Minister of Justice of Bolsonaro, Sergio Moro.
In a scenario where Moro does not compete, Bolsonaro reaches 30% in voting intention compared to 44% for Lula, according to data from the pollster XP/Ipespe, released on April 6, the first without the former judge in the competition. For some consultants, Lula could beat Bolsonaro in a second round by a difference of between 15 and 17 percentage points.
Bolsonaro, meanwhile, heats up the electoral fight by opening a crossroads against WhatsApp and the Electoral Justice after the company coordinated with the public institution to postpone the launch of a new messaging service to avoid contributing to the dissemination of false news, a practice that marked the pulse of the 2018 campaign among the president’s supporters.
Little room for a third
The panorama is dark for the candidates who escape the Lula-Bolsonaro fight. There are already five who confirmed that they will seek to reach the second round. The Union Brazil alliance is the last to confirm its candidate, it will be the deputy Luciano Bivar, who until last year led the Social Liberal Party (PSL) -which in 2018 led Bolsonaro as a candidate for the presidency- in alliance with the party Democrats (DEM).
Bivar comes after the departure of Moro, who had joined the PSL in March after leaving the conservative Podemos, to join Unión Brasil. Before his dismissal, at the end of March, Moro did not exceed eight points in voting intentions.
The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), the traditional space of the Brazilian center right, will take the businessman and former governor of São Paulo, Joao Doria, although the surveys place him with a very low 2%.
On the other hand, Ciro Gomes, a moderate candidate from the center left, former governor of Ceará, the third most voted in the 2018 presidential elections, tries with little success to conquer the progressive but anti-PT electorate. However, the meager six points that the polls give him threaten to put him out of the race. More than fighting for Lula’s votes, the key for the third and fourth forces will be to conquer the undecided who represent about 15% of Brazilians.