Officially, he is still not a candidate. But Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has already chosen his future vice-president. Friday, April 8, the popular leader of the Brazilian left, given as an ultra-favorite in the next presidential election, scheduled for October 2, dubbed Geraldo Alckmin, personality marked on the right and former governor of the State of Sao Paulo, for his future ticket against the current head of state, Jair Bolsonaro.
The announcement came during a meeting organized in Sao Paulo between the main barons of the Workers’ Party (PT) and the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), a party recently joined by Mr. Alckmin. Officially, the latter only “proposed” the name of the former governor as future vice-president for a hypothetical candidacy of Lula. But this seemingly formal approach, aimed at not contravening the country’s very strict electoral law (the announcement of presidential candidates can only take place from the end of July) has deceived no one. The event looked like a coronation.
“Nobody has more experience to become vice-president than Alckmin! », then launched a radiant and relaxed Lula, dressed in a simple blue shirt, posing hand in hand in front of the cameras in the company of his future “number two”. “From now on you call me ‘comrade Lula’ and I call you ‘comrade Alkmin’!” », added the former steelworker, arousing applause and bursts of laughter. De-ravaged and smiling, the lucky winner said he accepted his new responsibility with “honor and enthusiasm” : “This is not the time for selfishness, but for generosity, political greatness, self-sacrifice and union”insisted Geraldo Alckmin.
Alckmin, a good complexion preservative
“Comrade Alckmin” ? This title actually sticks very little to the character. Everything opposes the former metalworker Lula, 76, historical leader of the workers’ left, and Alckmin, 69, the perfect incarnation of the conservative Paulist upper middle class. Born in 1952 in Pindamonhangaba, east of Sao Paulo, the latter trained as an anesthesiologist before getting involved in politics in the early 1970s. A skilful manoeuvrer, Alckmin climbed all the local levels, became municipal councilor, mayor, regional and federal deputy, before reaching the Grail and governing the richest state in the country twice, from 2001 to 2006 and from 2011 to 2018.
A founding member of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), a centre-right party in power under the mandates of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2003), Alckmin is considered by all to be a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. A fervent Catholic, reputed to be close to Opus Dei, the establishment and industrial and financial circles, he is opposed to legal abortion and in favor of privatization.
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