The opposition in Brazil unified over the weekend behind Aécio Neves who was elected by a landslide president of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, PSDB. His naming opens the way for his candidacy to the 2014 presidential election, when President Dilma Rousseff should be bidding for another four years.
At the PSDB convention held in Brasilia, Senator Neves received the support from 521 of the 535 delegates including the main leaders of the party, among which former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso who sponsored him and in a much applauded speech called on all members to “leave aside personal interests” and close ranks behind the new president, and most probably the 2014 candidate.
“The time of change, of a better future under the command of Neves and with your unanimous support has arrived,” said Cardoso in support of the hopeful who has a long political career and comes from a family with strong political background.
Neves has been a member of the Lower House from 1997 to 2002; he was president of that house in 2001/2002 and governor of Minas Gerais from 2003 to 2010. Minas Gerais is the second largest electoral constituency in Brazil and is his family turf.
His grandfather, Tancredo Neves, was an articulate politician who worked for the transition from the military dictatorship (1964/1985) to democracy and was elected president in 1985. However he died before taking office.
Neves main competitors in the party, José Serra former governor of Sao Paulo and defeated twice in his presidential bid, in 2002 by Lula and in 2010 by Dilma Rousseff pledged he would be in the same side as Neves in 2014. Geraldo Alckmin, Sao Paulo governor and who lost to Lula in 2006 offered the support of São Paulo but did not expand.
In his speech Neves criticized President Rousseff and the ruling Workers’ party, which he accused of putting the State at “the service of their power project” and blasted the ruling coalition for its shortcomings in education, health, safety in the streets and the economy.
“It won’t be easy: I’m not deceiving myself, we are not facing a political party, but rather a party that has captured the State and inverted the logics of democracy, with the State at the service of the party and of its power and domination project,” said Neves.
He presented PSDB as the “party of ethics,” of economic stability, of the transfer of national income to the poor and needy, of fiscal responsibility and of the privatizations that were good for Brazil.
Neves finally recalled his grandfather, Tancredo, a man of wise counseling who use to say that “in the service of the country and fatherland, there will always be space for everybody. That is why we are here today, to build new times for Brazil”.