Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva continues to be the favorite to win the October elections with an intention to vote of 37%, according to the latest Datafolha poll. And the PT has multiplied unconditional support for its historical figure
Lula is in prison, but the Workers‘ Party (PT) maintains his candidacy for the presidency of Brazil against all odds, a high-risk strategy that demonstrates his lack of real options.
If that issue is debated within the largest leftist party in Latin America, only doors are known inside.
At the moment, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva continues to be the favorite to win the October elections with an intention to vote of 37%, according to the latest Datafolha poll. And the PT has multiplied unconditional support for its historical figure.
Symbolically moved his headquarters from Sao Paulo to Curitiba (south), where the exmandatario is imprisoned since April 7, and all his deputies added „Lula“ to their parliamentary names to appear in the panels of the hemicycle.
„We do not have plan B“, recognized the former president Dilma Rousseff this week, assuring that „it will fight in all the legal instances so that Lula is a candidate“.
The sociologist Alberto Almeida, of the Análise Institute of Sao Paulo, anticipates a very unusual pre-campaign.
„The party has three months until the start of the official campaign to try to get Lula out of prison, using caravans, visits and messages from the former president from prison, that will be the goal,“ he said.
The PT symbolically moved its headquarters from Sao Paulo to Curitiba (south), where the exmandatario is imprisoned since April 7, and all of its deputies added „Lula“ to their parliamentary names so that it appears on the panels of the hemicycle.
Despite the real possibility of Lula being invalidated as a candidate, „it is very difficult for the party not to capitalize on a leader who was its leader for the last 20 years,“ said Debora Messenberg, a sociologist and political scientist at the University of Brasilia.
Lincoln Secco, historian of the University of Sao Paulo and author of „History of the Workers Party in Brazil,“ adds: „Lula and the PT are inseparable.“
„The party has a correct strategy: to maintain Lula’s candidacy, despite being detained, how could he not consider Lula a political prisoner?“ Asks Secco. „He did not have a fair trial.“
– „Rehén“ –
The PT abroqueló around the imprisonment of Lula, who left power in 2010 with a popularity of 87% after eight years of government. And also many enemies.
„In a way, the PT is a hostage of Lula,“ said political scientist Paulo Moura.
„The mobilization around Lula is much more a strategy to keep his troops active and survive,“ he said. „Without a prospect of Lula as a candidate, the base of the PT is disintegrated, it is a dead end because Lula will not be able to campaign in prison.“
At 72 years old, the former union leader remains the exclusive figure of the left and far from blessing a successor, he was careful not to suggest heirs.
At 72, the former union leader remains the exclusive figure of the left and far from blessing a successor, he was careful not to suggest heirs
In his last speech in freedom, „he did not mention any PT candidate,“ but „he pointed to Manuela D’Avila (PCdoB, Communist Party) and [Guilherme] Boulos (PSOL, left) as the candidates of the future,“ Secco recalled.
„Thus, he kept the party united around his defense, while strengthening the solidarity of the left,“ he added.
Despite their defeat at the 2016 municipal elections, after the dismissal of Rousseff, the party co-founded by Lula still has weight. It governs six states, including Bahia and Minas Gerais, and has 2.2 million members.
However, it lost much of its luster with the scandal of buying votes from the „mensalao“ (2005) and with the accusations of „Operation Lava Jato“ (2014), which revealed a network of bribes to several parties, and that according to justice, it was led largely by the PT.
Its bastion is the impoverished northeast and its electorate includes millions of Brazilians who came out of poverty during both Lula’s governments, and a large group of intellectuals.
– A name –
„There is no leftist party that has the electoral strength of the PT, nor the size of its caucus,“ says sociologist Messenberg.
Biography of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
With 60 deputies leaves behind even the 56 of the MDB of President Michel Temer.
But like most analysts, Messenberg does not believe Lula is a candidate. „They’re going to have to get some other name out of the galley from here to October.“
The ex-mayor of Sao Paulo Fernando Haddad is not unanimous and the eventual application of former Minister Jaques Wagner was clouded with accusations of corruption.
And what will happen when justice declares Lula ineligible for having a conviction confirmed in the second instance as established by Brazilian law?
„There, the PT will have a problem, which is the transfer of votes from Lula to another PT candidate, and nothing indicates that this will work,“ said Secco.
Paulo Moura is even more pessimistic: „The PT is going into decline“.