By Jaylan Boyle, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – President Lula’s chosen successor Dilma Rousseff has received a significant boost to her campaign to succeed the enormously popular Luis Inácio Lula da Silva.
Rousseff officially gained the support of the nation’s largest political party, the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB. The accord has however yet to be formally approved at the respective party conferences.
The PMDB and President Lula’s party, the Workers’ Party, made a joint announcement last week supporting Rousseff’s candidacy in principle. Rousseff is a former revolutionary fighter in opposition to the military junta that ruled Brazil during the 70s and 80s. She is Lula’s current Chief of Staff.
“Both parties reached a preliminary agreement concerning the presidential election in 2010…it’s the first step in consolidating this national alliance that was pre-established today” said PMDB chief Michel Temer, after the agreement was reached over dinner at the presidential palace, hosted by president Lula.
The announcement goes a long way to allay fears in the Worker’s Party that the relatively unknown Rousseff would face an uphill struggle in winning votes without the PMDB’s support, and even with the inevitable reflected glory of Lula’s popularity.
President Lula is curently polling an unheard of eighty percent approval rating. American President Barack Obama recently referred to him as the “the most popular politician in the world”.
Primarily, the deal will lend much needed logistical and financial clout to Rousseff’s flagging candidacy, who is significantly trailing the candidate of the opposition party PSDB, São Paulo Governor José Serra. Analysts are not advising anyone to throw any money the way of local bookmakers just yet however; with the election still a year away, the Lula effect still has time to take hold. Brazilians will also likely be even less prepared to vote for change when the predicted surge in the economy kicks off.
Many commentators have opined that the average Brazilian ‘on the street’ is unsure of what exactly Rouseff stands for; a trained economist and former Energy Minister, she has made it known that she will in the main follow the status quo policies of the Lula administration.
Rouseff has done her best over the past year to rid herself of the popularly held belief that she is a rigid, unfeeling technocrat. However, her charisma and methods of interaction with media are not widely praised, as she often falls back on incomprehensible technical language, and is prone to bouts of stuttering.
The PMDB are a loosely allied party that has no clear idealogical stance, in a country where such contrived and convenient coalitions are a necessary norm. The party hold more than of a third of Brazil’s top seats of regional power. Brazilian law awards the party with the largest presence in the senate the most media airtime, another significant boost to Rousseff, whose principle problem is seen to be her relative anonymity. President Lula, forced to keep together a wildly disparate collection of parties since his election, has said that even Jesus Christ would have to cut a deal in Brazilian politics.
“If Christ came here and Judas had votes in whichever party, Christ would have to call Judas and form a coalition.”