Last Friday, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva—the leading candidate in October’s presidential election—announced Geraldo Alckmin as his running mate during a press conference in São Paulo. Lula da Silva and Alckmin, who were once political rivals, appeared together at the press conference and expressed the importance of creating a united front against the Bolsonaro government, which they said threatens Brazilian democracy and institutions. On Wednesday, the national board of Lula’s Partido dos Trabalhadores officially approved Alckmin’s vice-presidential candidacy with 68 to 14 voting in favor. Lula and Alckmin are expected to kick off their campaign in May.
The 69-year-old Alckmin is a career politician who served as governor of the state of São Paulo three times and co-founded the center-right Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB). In Brazil’s 2006 presidential elections, Alckmin lost to Lula da Silva in the runoff election after receiving 40 percent (versus Lula’s 60 percent) of the votes. In 2018, he campaigned again in the presidential election but did not make it to the second round. Since then, Alckmin has criticized President Jair Bolsonaro, calling him an “authoritarian.” Late last year, Alckmin resigned from the PSDB and joined the center-left Partido Socialista Brasileiro–a move that many perceived as a way to seek a political alliance with Lula da Silva to unseat Bolsonaro.
This political development was followed by Brazil’s electoral authority inviting the European Union (EU) to oversee the upcoming electoral process in order to “amplify the transparency of its electoral system and make cooperation possible.” Similar talks are already underway with organizations that have previously overseen Brazilian elections, including the Organization of American States, the Carter Center, and the Mercosur Parliament. President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly cast doubts on the Brazilian electronic voting system, opposes the invitation extended by the electoral authority to the EU.