By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – At an event in Brasilia on Tuesday (May 22th), President Michel Temer announced the pre-candidacy of former Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles for October’s Presidential election. The announcement indicates that Temer has all but abandoned plans to run for re-election in 2018.
“Meirelles is the best of the best,” said the President at a MDB Party gathering dubbed ‘Meeting with the Future’. “And has all the conditions not only to lead the party, but lead the electoral campaign,” concluded Temer.
In April Meirelles joined the MDB party and analysts wondered if he was planning to run for the Presidency or be President Temer’s running mate, since there were indications that Temer also planned to try for re-election.
But with very low popularity rates and unable to push through Congress major structural reforms, Temer is today seen as a weak presidential candidate. According to analysts, due to his unpopularity, Temer is also unlikely to actively campaign for any presidential candidate.
Former Bank Boston CEO, Henrique Meirelles also headed Brazil’s Central Bank from 2003 to 2011, during the Lula Administration. During the Temer Administration Meirelles actively pushed for structural modifications in Brazil, such as the social security and labor reforms, stating that these would move the country towards sustainable economic growth.
If the MDB (formerly known as the PMDB) chooses Meirelles as its presidential candidate it will be the first time in more than twenty years the largest political party in Brazil has put forth its own candidate.
“The Presidency of the Republic requires liturgy, rite, education, patience, responsibility, competence, good faith and, above all, a conciliatory tone,” said Temer on Tuesday. “I made the choice for this simple man from Goiás to win the world. I made the choice for the seriousness, respect and character of Meirelles, independent of political and ideological visions,” Temer concluded.
Among the more than fifteen candidates vying for the top political position in Brazilian politics are senators, deputies, former cabinet ministers and an impeached President.