Luciano Huck dropped out in 2017, but could change his mind.
luciano huck brazil 2018 election presidential polls

Luciano Huck dropped out in 2017, but could change his mind.

It seems unanimous that outsiders will enter the 2018 election as true contenders. Brazilians are fed up with their political system: they mistrust political parties and the government, and feel that politicians are simply acting on their own behalf to the detriment of the general population. Moreover, the country’s most popular politician has just had a corruption conviction upheld, and will likely not be on the ballot.

This is why the political world has started wondering about TV presenter Luciano Huck. Already extremely well known to the Brazilian public, Huck hosts a Saturday afternoon show at Globo, the country’s leading station. He has segments filled with product placement in which he fulfills the dreams of lower-income families who desire material comfort. Huck’s image appeals to poorer Brazilians, who prefer social welfare programs, yet his economic ideas also please the conservatives.

</p> <p>Without the slightest bit of effort, Huck is polling between 5 and 8 percent – the same as São Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin (who has previously run for president).</p> <p>For years, Huck has bonded with members of center-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). And since 2016, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, or FHC, has publicly praised him, associating Huck with a new era of politics. The fact remains that Huck tends to be conveniently vague about his status.  When he denies any political ambition, he carefully adds the words <em>“for now.”</em></p> <p>In November, however, Huck <a href="http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/opiniao/2017/11/1938495-no-rumo.shtml">dropped out</a> of the race (without actually having been <em>really</em> in). At the time, <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong> explained to our premium readers that it might have simply been a stunt to stave off political attacks.</p> <p>But now his name is surfacing again. Globo had given him December as a deadline to make up his mind. Now, that date has been pushed back until after Carnival. And yet again, FHC is telling the entire mainstream media that Huck is “PSDB material.”</p> <p>Here’s why Luciano Huck is back in the mix:</p> <h3>1. His discussions with political parties never ended</h3> <p>Despite “not being a candidate,” Huck continued to talk to parties that were trying to lure him into politics. He is active in two political movements he recently joined. This week, he held a meeting with former President FHC.</p> <p>At the same time, the Popular Socialist Party  (PPS) has already said that its nominee has already been locked.</p> <p>Furthermore, Huck participated in a Sunday show to discuss his visions of the country. The interview was so electorally charged that the Workers’ Party has accused him of illegal campaigning before the Superior Electoral Court.</p> <h3>2. Geraldo Alckmin’s candidacy smells like “failure at launch”</h3> <p>While many PSDB leaders would love to have Huck as their candidate, the party’s current incumbent nominee is Geraldo Alckmin. He made it this far by dominating his internal adversaries and winning the party’s power struggles. But with voters, Alckmin has been less successful.</p> <p>Even with Lula out of the picture, Alckmin’s voting intentions don’t improve by much. As we mentioned earlier, Alckmin is polling within the same 5 to 8 percent range as Huck. On top of that, he is uncharismatic and lacking in oratorical skills. Moreover, PSDB is known for its internal divisions. FHC’s public praise of Huck is ultimately a way of taking a shot directly at Alckmin, indicating to his fellow party members that a better option is right there.</p> <div class="infogram-embed" data-id="eda6912c-2b9f-4676-bf3f-d74ab061432b" data-type="interactive"></div><script>!function(e,t,s,i){var n="InfogramEmbeds",o=e.getElementsByTagName("script"),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?"http:":"https:";if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement("script");a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async","//e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js");</script> <p>Former President FHC met with Luciano Huck this week in an attempt to recruit him for the party. The question is, will it work?</p> <p>When he allegedly dropped out of the race, Huck compared himself to Odysseus, the Greek hero who avoided falling victim to the Sirens by tying himself to a ship’s mast. Apparently, the ropes are getting a bit loose.

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PowerFeb 09, 2018

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.