João Doria: The soap opera to forge an alternative candidacy to those of Lula and Bolsonaro gets entangled in Brazil | International

Former Governor João Doria, after announcing his resignation on Monday flanked by the president of his party and his wife.
Former Governor João Doria, after announcing his resignation on Monday flanked by the president of his party and his wife.CARLA CARNIEL (REUTERS)

The former governor João Doria, the politician who did the most since the beginning of the pandemic so that Brazil could buy covid vaccines, announced this Monday that he is abandoning the race to reach the Presidency. Doria is one of a handful of hopefuls to carve out a niche in the electoral space between President Jair Bolsonaro and the favorite in the polls, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Doria’s resignation is part of the soap opera that has become the attempt to forge a third way candidacy that manages to elicit any significant support among the electorate. Doria and the rest of the lifelong right-wing candidates or leaning towards the center do not exceed 2% in the polls. The only one keeping the type is a center-left veteran, Ciro Gomes, who refuses to step aside to pave the way for Lula.

The Brazilian political center has been converted for months into a kind of cabin for the Marx brothers while Lula and Bolsonaro consolidate their positions at the head with the leftist ahead. Many representatives of economic and media power would be much calmer with a solid alternative to the founder of the Workers’ Party (PT) and the far-right president.

Despite the attempts, nobody appears on the horizon beyond Ciro Gomes, a former governor and minister with the PT. Gomes, who was already third in 2018, was around 7% in the last poll of Datafolha, in March. The personal relationship between Gomes and Lula could hardly be worse, and so far the former has ignored pressure from the left to resign and make way for Lula.

Doria has not left of his own free will, but pushed by his own party in a move that gives an idea of ​​nervousness. Until this Monday at noon, he was the presidential candidate of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), the great centrist formation in Brazil, which led the federal government between 1995 and 2002. “Today, with serenity, I understand that I am not the choice of the PSDB leadership. I accept this reality with my head held high. I am a man who respects common sense, dialogue and balance”, said the former governor and former advertising businessman.

The leadership of the party, seeing that Doria does not take off in the polls and also generates enormous rejection among the electorate, has decided to isolate him, forgetting that he held a primary won by the then governor of São Paulo. “I withdraw from the dispute with a broken heart, but with a light soul,” he explained at his campaign headquarters in São Paulo.

Sérgio Moro, the judge who sentenced Lula and was Bolsonaro’s minister, also tried to embark on the battle to fight both. He looked for a party to join, but his presidential candidacy did not take off either, although for a couple of months he traveled around the country with an intense agenda. When he felt that not even his own acronym collaborated in the campaign, Moro moved to another in a desperate move that has not borne fruit.

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After getting Doria out of the way, the PSDB and two other traditional center parties seem determined to place their chips on the only woman who has so far appeared in this presidential race, Senator Simone Tebet. However, surprises can never be ruled out because faction fights within matches are the order of the day. Tebet had 1%, in the aforementioned survey Datafolhabut the important thing for the centrists is that it provokes less rejection than Doria.

Doria’s presidential aspirations were always evident, but not even his remarkable management of the pandemic in the most populous and richest state in Brazil, or the fact that the local economy grew five times more than the national economy in that period, according to the former governor, have been enough. to overcome the rejection it provokes. For many voters, he is an opportunist due to some unfulfilled promises and his harmony with Bolsonaro in the previous elections. The pandemic turned them into archenemies.

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