The elections in Rio Grande do Sul

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By CARLOS EDUARDO BELLINI BORENSTEIN*

The left has the challenge of avoiding the fragmentation of candidacies in the progressive field

The poll released on Sunday, December 26, by the Atlas institute shows Edegar Pretto (PT) and Onyx Lorenzoni (DEM) leading the 2022 dispute for the Piratini Palace with 18,6% and 17,8% of the voting intentions, respectively. The survey also brought other important information. The left, which in addition to Edegar Pretto, has the pre-candidacies of Beto Albuquerque (PSB) and Pedro Ruas (PSOL), now accounts for 34,8% of the voting intentions – 18,6% for Edegar, 8,4% for Ruas and 7,8% of Beto.

Despite Edegar Pretto's numerical leadership, the left faces the challenge of avoiding the fragmentation of candidacies in the progressive field. In the 2018 election, for example, Miguel Rossetto (PT) won 17,76% of the valid votes, Jairo Jorge (PDT) had 11,08% and Roberto Robaina (PSOL) had 0,64%. Adding the percentages of Rossetto, Jairo and Robaina, the left won 29,48% in the first round. The percentage was lower than the 35,90% of Eduardo Leite (PSDB) and 31,11% of José Ivo Sartori (MDB). However, if the progressive field was less pulverized, the chance of being in the second round would increase.

Keeping the due proportions, the configuration of the board at that moment, if there is no political agreement between the left, carries the risk of the 2018 scenario being repeated in 2022. Although the aforementioned names of the PSDB (Ranolfo Vieira Júnior) and the MDB (Alceu Moreira) appear poorly positioned in the poll, whoever represents the Eduardo Leite government (PSDB) has a good chance of being in the second round. And we still have the Bolsonarist camp, today divided between Onyx and Luis Carlos Heinze (PP).

Given this scenario, it is important to observe the recent history of the elections for governor in RS. From 1994 to 2018 – the last seven elections – PT, PSB and PCdoB were together in 1994, 1998 and 2010. On two occasions, 1998 (with Olívio Dutra) and 2010 (with Tarso Genro) the left elected the governor. The only defeat when these three parties were linked since the first round was in 1994. Even so, in that dispute, when Antonio Britto, then in the PMDB, defeated Olívio, the PT had a political victory, since Olívio left 34,73% in the first round to 47,79% in the second round.

Another important piece in this chess is the PDT. Although in 1998 the pedetistas had competed with the then senator Emília Fernandes in the first round, the support for Olívio in the second round was decisive for the victory over Britto. In 1994, the PDT, which in the first round of that election ran against Sereno Chaise, was neutral in the second round. And in 2010, even with the PDT having Pompeu de Mattos as vice-president of José Fogaça (PMDB), part of the PDT joined Tarso, who won in the first round.

In other elections, with the exception of 1994, when PT, PSB and PCdoB were not together, the progressive camp was always defeated. In 2002, Tarso Genro had the support of the PCdoB, PCB and PMN. The PSB launched Caleb de Oliveira and the PDT supported Antonio Britto (PPS). In the second round between Tarso and Germano Rigotto (PMDB), the PDT opted for Rigotto. And the PSB followed Tarso.

In 2006, Olívio Dutra was supported only by the PCdoB. PSB launched Beto Grill. The PDT competed with Alceu Collares and the PSOL with Roberto Robaina, who had the support of the PCB. In the second round, PDT opted for Yeda Crusius (PSDB) and PSB supported Olívio, who ended up losing to Yeda. In the 2014 elections, Tarso had the support of the PCdoB, PTB, PTC, PROS, PR and PPL. The PSB supported José Ivo Sartori (PMDB) and the PDT competed with Vieira da Cunha. In the second round between Tarso x Sartori, won by the PMDB, the PDT opted for Sartori.

And in 2018, Miguel Rossetto only had the support of the PCdoB. PDT launched Jairo Jorge, who was supported by PV, SD, Podemos, Avante, PMB and PPL. And PSOL competed with Robaina, who had the PCB as an ally.

While every election has its dynamics, it is important to look at history when designing election strategies. And history shows that when PT, PSB and PCdoB are together since the first round, the chances of electoral success increase. On the other hand, when the three parties split, the risk of defeat increases.

As the PDT has historically had its own candidacy in the state, an alliance between PT, PSB, PCdoB and PDT is unlikely at this time. However, a political construction of this size should not be discarded. Even if an understanding between the four parties occurs only in an eventual second round, the electoral density of the progressive field would grow in RS.

*Carlos Eduardo Bellini Borenstein, marketing analyst, is a political scientist from ULBRA-RS.

Originally published on the portal South21.

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