Brazilian Congressman Indio da Costa of the opposition Democrat’s party was named Brazilian presidential candidate José Serra ‘s running mate. The move is geared to retake the initiative in the campaign to October 3 presidential polls, which now have incumbent Dilma Rousseff ahead.
Da Costa nomination was approved by unanimous vote. “He’s a young man, but experienced,” Serra said in a speech to the Democrat’s convention. “We are two different generations together.”
Costa, 39, has a law degree from Rio de Janeiro’s Cândido Mendes University. He began his political career in 1997 as a city councilman in Rio, where he focused on legislation to promote tourism and improve the quality of life in the crime ridden city.
“He’s a young face, but an experienced politician,” Antonio Carlos Magalhães Neto, vice president of the Democrats, told reporters in Brazilian capital Brasilia. “He will have a lot to add to the ticket.”
The Democrats are the second biggest opposition force in Congress and Serra’s main coalition partner as he competes against former Cabinet Chief Dilma Rousseff, who is running on President Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party ticket.
In 2006, Costa was elected to congress from his home state. He’s the sponsor of the so-called “clean record” law passed this year that bans some convicted criminals from seeking elected office.
“I’m very proud to be given the chance to work alongside one of Brazil’s most qualified men,” Costa told the convention of 350 party members on Wednesday.
The Democrats settled on Costa after resisting attempts by Serra’s Brazilian Social Democracy Party, or PSDB, to select Senator Álvaro Dias as the candidate’s running mate.
Serra, 68, is the former governor of São Paulo, Brazil’s wealthiest and most populous state. His party is the country’s biggest opposition group. It last held the presidency from 1995 through 2002, under Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
However Serra lost a presidential runoff in October 2002, taking 39% of the vote to Lula’s 61%.
Serra, who was exiled in Chile and the U.S. during part of Brazil’s 1964 to 1985 military dictatorship, has been critical of Lula’s handling of Latin America’s biggest economy as growth accelerated in the first quarter to 9%, the fastest in two decades.
Incumbent Rousseff overtook Serra for the first time in an Ibope poll published June 23 on behalf of the National Industrial Confederation.
Rousseff, who has never run for elected office before, had the support of 40% of those surveyed, compared with 35% for Serra and 9% for Marina Silva, Lula da Silva former environment minister.
An additional 10 percent were undecided. The nationwide survey of 2,002 people has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.