Lula's opponent

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By RAUL GALHARDI*

Ciro Gomes intends to occupy Bolsonaro's space in a dispute with Lula

Recently, the possibility that President Jair Bolsonaro will not be in the second round of the 2022 elections has been circulating in articles and journalistic materials. At the same time, according to the same opinion makers, Lula is already guaranteed and it remains to be seen who his opponent will be.

Along with this idea, the media has also found an echo in the media that Ciro Gomes intends to take Bolsonaro's place in a dispute with Lula. To achieve this goal, the former minister would be adopting anti-PT rhetoric and approaching center-right parties, since it is no longer possible for him to count on the PT, which has historically passed him by in elections, despite the former governor from Ceará supported the party on several occasions.

If we analyze the recent history of Brazilian democracy since redemocratization, the country has always been divided in elections between two poles with little room for other options. Before the division was between PT and PSDB and now we would be between the PT and Bolsonarismo, this diffuse reactionary ideology that does not materialize in a party.

The person who came closest to breaking the polarization, which is not necessarily between extremes, since Bolsonaro's extreme right-wing radicalism cannot be compared with PT's moderate left-wing ideology, was Marina Silva in 2014. However, the heavy artillery of the PT propaganda took her out of the dispute, enabling the clash between Dilma Rousseff and Aécio Neves.

Therefore, what would remain for the former minister is to try to occupy the space of the current president in the second round, attracting portions of the right and left “neither nor” (neither Bolsonaro nor Lula). This bet is very risky because it depends on a number of factors.

For it to occur, support for Bolsonaro needs to decline at least a little from the persistent 30% it has maintained since the beginning of the government; the main center-left and center-right parties have to support Ciro (PSB, PSDB, DEM and PSD), with fragmentation and disloyalty in this field being the rule, in addition to the fact that there are few programmatic affinities between the PDT , Ciro and the right-wing legends; and the so-called “Centrão” needs to be dispersed between him, Bolsonaro and Lula, without weighing too much on any scale against the former governor.

In addition, it is necessary to agree with the “Russians”, that is, the voters. The past elections showed that TV and radio time are no longer so relevant to boost a candidacy and even with the support of important parties, which would give Ciro good advertising time in these media, the message he will pass on to the population may end up looking ambiguous, alienating voters from both the right and the left.

To what extent will he be willing to negotiate his National Development Project, which is anti-liberal, with the right? Of all the candidates in the past presidential elections, Ciro was the one with the most developmentalist profile. However, if he is adamant about his government program, he may lose the right. If, on the other hand, it makes its historical positions more flexible, it runs the risk of losing the left.

One of the possible presidential candidates negotiating with Ciro, former Minister of Health Luiz Henrique Mandetta, has already assumed in an interview the possibility of supporting a project based on a strong State, mainly because the State would be necessary for the reconstruction of the country after Bolsonaro, but it will be that all the chiefs of that field have the same understanding?

Everything indicates that, as in 2018, the next election will be one of rupture and not of continuity. If anti-PTism was the hallmark of the last election, anti-Bolsonarism could be the characteristic of the next one.

Recent opinion polls show a growing and gradual weakening of the government. However, will this attrition be enough by 2022 to make the traditional support of about a third of the population fall in relation to the current administration?

An intricate chess set up for those who wish to occupy the third way.

Raul Galhardi, journalist, holds a master's degree in Journalistic Production and Market from ESPM-SP.

 

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