LATIN AMERICA

Brazil’s Workers’ Party reelects Falcão as its president

Lula da Silva steps out of the shadows to support his grouping’s leader

Rui Falcão, Workers' Party president.
Rui Falcão, Workers' Party president.PARTIDO DE LOS TRABAJADORES

Members of the Brazil’s Workers’ Party (PT) re-elected Rui Falcão to continue as president of the ruling party as elections approach next year.

The majority of the PT’s 800,000 members gave Falcão their votes over the other five candidates vying for the party’s leadership.

Falcão, a deputy from São Paulo, had the backing of PT founder and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva who in the past had remained neutral in internal elections. The change of position was a strategic move on his part.

Lula da Silva, who is helping his successor President Dilma Rousseff win a second term, knew of the plans the other five candidates had to steer the party further left, which would have made conservative groupings, who seek to form alliances with the current administration, uneasy.

Lula da Silva also knows Rousseff will have a difficult time being re-elected if she doesn’t seek out partnerships with the conservatives, above all the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), the second major force in Congress.

The former president is also concentrating in defeating the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) in São Paulo where it holds the state governorship. São Paulo generates 30 percent of Brazil’s GDP.

Last year, the PT was successful in winning São Paulo City Hall with Lula da Silva’s former Education Minister Fernando Haddad, an official who was then not well known in the city.

Lula da Silva hopes to repeat that victory with Alexandre Padilla, the current health minister, who has launched a nationwide campaign with Rousseff to help give all Brazilians access to medical services.

Even though the Más Medicos (More doctors) program has been popular, many conservative groups have expressed concern about the number of physicians who have been brought in from Cuba.

Falcão is expected to become Rousseff’s campaign manager.

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