By Maria López Conde, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The President of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), Valdir Raupp, affirmed last Monday that his party will attempt to join forces with the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) to present a slate of candidates in six states across Brazil this October. This statement followed a Sunday meeting with President Dilma Rousseff meant to play down fears that the alliance between the PT and the PMDB is deteriorating.
“The PT only has fixed candidates, if memory serves me right, in thirteen states. Besides that, there are other states that are open to dialogue, to discussion, to alliances. The PT’s party of choice for alliances is the PMDB,” Raupp told reporters last Monday.
The PT and the PMDB are considering nominating their own separate candidates for elections in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Ceará, but according to Raupp, both parties are planning on supporting the same candidates in Goiás, Maranhão, Paraíba, Alagoas, Rondônia and Tocantins, a move that is being described as a PT overture to the PMDB.
The centrist PMDB is Brazil’s largest political party by number of members. It entered an alliance with the leftist PT in June 2010, ahead of Rousseff’s first presidential contest. In that year, PMDB and PT formed alliances in ten states. The PMDB-PT coalition culminated in the decision to nominate PMDB President, Michel Temer, to run alongside Rousseff as vice president. At that time, Rousseff lauded the achievements of the PMDB’s struggle for social justice and democracy.
“Together the PT and PMDB will make the reforms and changes necessary to create a strong, solid Brazil…We will move ahead with the policies of president Lula. We will continue his accomplishments with efficient, hard work,” she declared.
The partnership between the two parties is widely credited for awarding Rousseff additional votes in the states of Bahia, Pernambuco, Ceará, Minas Gerais and Rio in the 2010 elections. The alliance also brought Rio governor Sérgio Cabral (PMDB) and mayor Eduardo Paes (PMDB) closer to Rousseff.
Though the collaboration between the two parties has allowed both to retain power, the alliance has encountered its fair share of roadblocks. In 2013, internal squabbles over support for governors in Ceará and Minas Gerais threatened to separate them.
In recent weeks, PMDB deputies have manifested their discontent over the PT’s delay in releasing resources for public works included in parliamentary amendments approved last year and have demanded more PMDB members in key ministerial posts.
The conflict between the PT and the PMDB escalated when seven parties allied to the PT in the Chamber of Deputies, led by the Chamber’s PMDB leader, Eduardo Cunha, united to create a group to pressure Brazil’s executive power. Temer was quick to dismiss Cunha’s efforts and reaffirmed the tie between the two parties that brought him the spot of second-in-command.
“It’s a very solid alliance and, as many times as it is said that there is trouble, I must say, with all tranquility, that the conversations I had last night and that we had today (Monday) with the leadership of the PMDB reveal the solidity of our alliance,” vice president Michel Temer said to the press on Monday. “The PMDB only brings me joy,” Rousseff said on Tuesday morning from Chile.
Raupp told the press that he will meet with Rousseff’s chief of staff, Aloizio Mercadante, and PT president, Rui Falcão, to further discuss candidacies across Brazil this October. The PMDB leadership was confident in stating that the alliance that brought Rousseff a comfortable win in 2010 would stand in this year’s elections. Rousseff is currently receiving 47 percent of voters’ support in polls, according to Datafolha.