2022 Race

Presumed VP nominee, Alckmin sets the tone of Lula campaign in speech

By joining the Brazilian Socialist Party, Geraldo Alckmin is set to become Lula's running mate. Photo: Mateus Bonomi/Agif/Folhapress)
By joining the Brazilian Socialist Party, Geraldo Alckmin is set to become Lula’s running mate. Photo: Mateus Bonomi/Agif/Folhapress

Geraldo Alckmin, four-time governor of São Paulo, officially joined the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) today, in a move that cements his alliance with former adversary and presidential frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

While coming short of confirming that he will be Lula’s 2022 running mate, Mr. Alckmin set the tone for the center-left presidential campaign: “Two nightmares haunt Brazil: violence and misery, hunger,” he told supporters at his affiliation ceremony. “We have to keep our eyes open, and have the humility to understand that [Lula] is who better reflects and better understands the hopes of the Brazilian people.”

Proposals to reduce poverty are an expected centerpiece of Lula’s campaign. But, by mentioning violence as a priority for Brazil, Mr. Alckmin zoned in on one of President Jair Bolsonaro’s key campaign issues. 

The possibility of the former governor, an establishment conservative, running with Lula was met with resistance by sectors of the left — but the attendance of Workers’ Party chairwoman Gleisi Hoffmann at today’s event signals that Lula will manage to impose his choice on fellow party members.

Mr. Alckmin and Lula traded barbs during the 2006 presidential runoff — with each calling the other a crook. “But we never put democracy into question,” the former governor said, in a not-so-subtle reference to Mr. Bolsonaro.