Succession Has Started in Brazil

Succession Has Started in Brazil

    Lula says he is against reelection. He has positioned himself
    against this monstrosity stuffed
    down the country’s throat in
    opposition to our whole republican tradition. The Workers’
    Party (PT) did
    what it could at the time. The party was very
    vocal in its protest. Now we know: Lula is a candidate.


    Carlos Chagas


    The man has said that he is against reelection. We heard the speech about putting people above programs and
    parties. He even criticized his predecessor, Fernando Henrique, who "could have left office as a
    ‘god’ at the end of the first
    term". He never explained his particular view on how the former President actually left office at the end of his second term, but
    his tone suggested something in the direction of the devil’s neighborhood…

    One thing is for sure: Lula is a candidate…

    What matters in Lula’s statements is that he has positioned himself against reelection, this monstrosity stuffed down
    the country’s throat in opposition to our whole republican tradition. PT did what it could at the time. The party was very
    vocal in its protest in a national campaign and resisted to exhaustion. Unfortunately, the winners were the hardly orthodox
    methods still practiced in Brasília to get the desired votes in Congress.

    Even live cash went in and the result were eight and not four years of neoliberal suffocation, the alienation of
    Brazilian public assets and the suppression of social rights. Not to mention the multiplication of unemployment figures and the
    prevalence of the financial sector over the productive sector. But the past should stay in the past. More important is to
    concentrate on the words of the present in order to decipher the future.

    Logic would indicate two consequences arising from the President’s opposition to reelection. First, the PT would
    insert into the promised political reform coming up (nobody knows when) a bill barring mayors, governors and presidents
    from running for a second term immediately following the first.

    Second, regardless of the outcome of such a bill, Luiz Inácio da Silva would not be a candidate anyway. Right?
    Well, maybe not. In politics, logic is somewhat different. Words often serve the purpose of hiding true intentions. In Congress
    not a single House Member or Senator seems to have any doubt that Lula will run for reelection.

    There is one case in which Lula would probably not run—if his government fails in such a way that losing turns out
    to be inevitable. Otherwise, various arguments would prevail, such as the "respect for the law", or "if Fernando Henrique
    could, why not Lula?"

    It doesn’t cost much to be fooled. The 2006 succession race has already begun, confirming that old Arab proverb
    that says that the first one to the well is the one who drinks clean water. This current President is a candidate. He can’t avoid
    it, even against his will; no one in the PT would forgive him. Moreover, the chances that his administration will turn out to
    be a failure, or at least turn out worse than the calamitous Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, are very slim.

    … And Fernando Henrique Cardoso, too

    In the high command of the PT, this process is approached in a professional manner. The anxiously expected staging
    of the show called ‘development’ is scheduled for late 2003 or early 2004, in time to influence voters for next year’s
    municipal elections. A merely reasonable performance in securing mayors for major capital cities would lay down a solid
    threshold for the elections two years later. Same thing with maintaining or even expanding the government’s
    political-congressional base.

    There are, of course, other pretensions, starting with PMDB, now reinforced with the arrival of the Garotinho
    couple. There is a possibility for the party to remain within the base of support for the administration by lending its support to
    reelection, but a solo flight is also being contemplated, with Garotinho or Roberto Requião, who already had a fit with the
    arrival of the former fluminense governor in the PMDB ranks. What could be the reason for that?…

    On the other hand, there’s no denying that the ‘almost-god’ person intends to return to paradise. Fernando Henrique
    is a candidate and has already said that age does not constitute a problem: in 2006 he will be as old as Tancredo Neves
    was when he faced the Electoral College. Other alternatives have sprung up, too, at the PSDB: governors Geraldo Alkmin
    and Aécio Neves, the loser José Serra, Tasso Jereissati.

    PFL would like to shed his image of crutches for
    tucanos by bringing in their own candidate. Two times the liberals
    have been close to Palácio do Planalto. Once, before the premature death of Luís Eduardo Magalhães and again when
    Roseana Sarney led the polls and then withdrew due to maneuvers of questionable ethics. Do we have anyone else? Possibly.
    Why not Ciro Gomes, if he continues to deserve praise as one of our best ministers? How about bishop Macedo? It would be
    someone from the very extreme left, able to fill the vacuum left so far by the current president on his concerted run towards the
    center and even towards…. (let me stop right here…).

    It’s all politics working within its own logic. In his stance against reelection, Lula reaffirms his plans for a second
    term and inevitably stirs up his opponents. We can’t avoid the lessons of an Andrada, who was known as Zezinho just out of
    meanness: "In politics, you can never be against new facts or consummated facts"…


    Carlos Chagas writes for the Rio’s daily Tribuna da
    Imprensa and is a representative of the Brazilian
    Press Association, in Brasília. He welcomes your comments at 

    This article appeared originally in Tribuna da
    Imprensa –

    Translated byTereza Braga. Braga is a freelance Portuguese translator and interpreter based in Dallas. She is an
    accredited member of the American Translators Association. Contact:

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