2022 Race

Eduardo Leite turns down PSD to remain in PSDB

Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite. Photo: José Cruz/ABr
Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite. Photo: José Cruz/ABr

Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite reportedly declined an invitation to join the Social Democratic Party (PSD), for which he could have stood as its presidential candidate in October’s elections. Mr. Leite will stay in the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), a center-right grouping that will have São Paulo Governor João Doria as its presidential nominee.

Mr. Leite believes that PSD was not taking his candidacy seriously and that he would only be used as a means of bolstering the unity and appeal of the party in the first round of the election.

Now, Gilberto Kassab’s PSD needs to find another name to replace Leite. The party is made up of sectors linked to Jair Bolsonaro and others to former president Lula, the two main competitors, and for that reason, Mr. Kassab’s mission is to find someone who can bridge those differences.

The Brazilian Report has already shown that ​​Mr. Kassab’s hopes do not rest on the presidential race, but rather on his push to win congressional seats and turn his PSD into a major force in the House.

Mr. Leite’s allies have begun to air the possibility that, by remaining in PSDB, he might still be a candidate for the presidency, replacing Mr. Doria (who won the party’s primaries last year). That possibility would require an unlikely deal for Mr. Doria to step down and pursue a seat in the Senate instead. On Sunday, however, Mr. Doria said attempts to go against the primary result would be a “coup.”