Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the frontrunner for this year’s presidential election, told a radio station on Tuesday that his running mate Geraldo Alckmin, a conservative former São Paulo governor, did not support the impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s understudy.
In 2016, Congress ousted Ms. Rousseff for doctoring the federal budget to hide the true situation of public deficits from voters and paint a rosy picture of the federal accounts. These budgetary shenanigans, however, were used as a pretext to jettison a head of state who had lost her ability to govern and steered Brazil into what was at the time the country’s worst recession on record.
“Geraldo Alckmin was not only against the impeachment but he also asked for a legal opinion on it, which was against [the ousting of Ms. Rousseff,” Lula told interviewers. “Please don’t say [he did], because Alckmin is a good man and a comrade who will help me rebuild this country.”
Lula has taken heat from sectors of the left for teaming up with Mr. Alckmin — and his detractors denounce what they see as utter hypocrisy the fact that Lula has teamed up with politicians who supported the impeachment — which the left still sees as a coup.
Mr. Alckmin did support the ousting of Mr. Rousseff by Congress. In 2015, he said impeachment is part of the Constitution and cannot, therefore, be a putschist affair.
In March 2016, just weeks before the House suspended the then-president from office, Mr. Alckmin reaffirmed his support for the process. Once she was out, he said his party at the time “did well in supporting the impeachment and should make an alliance with Michel Temer,” the VP who took Ms. Rousseff’s place.
The failures of the Dilma Rousseff administration are a dent to Lula’s record, and adversaries use the fact that he handpicked her as his successor within the Workers’ Party to tell voters not to vote for him this year.