Power

What is Brazil’s political chess master up to with his presidential candidate?

Gilberto Kassab has lured the young Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite to run for president for his party. But his true objective lies elsewhere

Gilberto Kassab has become one of Brazil's key power brokers. Photo: José Cruz/ABr
Gilberto Kassab has become one of Brazil’s key power brokers. Photo: José Cruz/ABr

On the Brazilian political chessboard, few pieces are more important than Gilberto Kassab, founder and de facto owner of the Social Democratic Party (PSD). 

Less than two decades ago, Mr. Kassab was a marginal figure in Brazilian politics, until he came from nowhere to become mayor of São Paulo, Latin America’s biggest city, in 2006. And while he remains far from the spotlight, Mr. Kassab has turned himself into something of a political chess master with the uncanny ability to build alliances and leverage his position to stay close to power — but far from public scrutiny.

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