By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite the undefined coalitions and the weak economic and political scenario in the country, Brazilian political parties will start to choose their Presidential candidates Friday for this year’s October elections.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Lula
Former President Lula is at the top of the polls but won’t be eligible to run in this year’s Presidential elections, photo by Ricardo Stuckert/Instituto Lula.

The names of the candidates for president and vice-president must be approved in party conventions by August 5th and registered in Brazil Superior Electoral Court (TSE) by August 15th.

Currently there are eighteen Brazilians who have proclaimed to be pre-presidential candidates but total number of candidates may be lower since some smaller parties will likely decide to give up their own presidential bid to support more competitive coalitions.

The lack of a few strong contenders early on in the race is due to several factors, including the fact that the current administration holds today very little power and is seen as not having much influence on this year’s electoral process.

“When the executive is strong, trying to re-elect or make the successor, the tendency is for the governing coalition to be reproduced, the opposition to organize and even to take the third route,” political scientist Leonardo Barreto told government news agency, Agencia Brasil.

According to Barreto the fact that in this election the current government party has no strong candidate to represent it has led to an ample array of candidates.

Among top contenders are right-wing candidate and Congressional representative Jair Bolsonaro, former Sao Paulo mayor Geraldo Alckmin, former economy minister Henrique Meirelles, former environment minister Marina Silva and former Ceara governor and minister Ciro Gomes.

Currently leading the polls, the PT (Workers Party) is fully aware that former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has very little chance of becoming the PT candidate for the presidency.
Lula, found guilty of passive corruption and sentenced to twelve years in jail, has been in prison since April and by Brazilian electoral law cannot run for public office.

The challenge now for Lula and the PT is to try to transfer his votes to another candidate. According to polling company, Vox Populi, Lula may be able to transfer twenty to thirty-two percent of his votes to another left-wing candidate, which according to the company would take the PT party into the second round of elections in November.

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