Brazil: Lula Joins Sí£o Paulo Campaign at Last

Well, it looks like President Lula is finally going to São Paulo. But it seems that he’s going to be busy opening new medical and car centres. Based on his last speech in favour of Marta Suplicy (PT) at a public event in the city, what chances he makes few references ”“ if any ”“ to the election?

When the campaign team suggested that Lula would be getting involved to help out his party colleague, I’m sure many assumed it would be a lot more hands-on.


Still Marta’s rival, José Serra (PSDB), managed to get heated up by the visit.


“He should be working for the country. He shouldn’t be working for the PT candidate,” he said.


Although after Lula’s 50,000 reais (US$ 17,000)  fine the other week, does he really think that Lula will be gunning for Marta?


And sure enough, “can’t speak about politics” when he’s doing these occasions. But it still begs the question: when’s he going to enter the campaign and how? There’s only a week and a half left.


Meanwhile, PT activists were organising themselves to support and protect him. After the shenanigans that have gone on in recent weeks with petistas heckling and provoking Serra’s campaign team, this looks like fore-planning. After all, there couldn’t be anything worse than news footage of Lula being booed in São Paulo?


Could there?


TV Politics


Yesterday afternoon’s TV spots included Serra (PSDB) taking the health theme forward, while Marta used hers to let Paulistanos know about how loved she is by foreigners ”“ Kofi Annan and the mayor of Paris were shown talking about her.


In the evening Serra showed his own biography and linked Marta to Paulo Maluf (PP). No doubt there are some in the PT who are wishing they hadn’t sought his support so publicly, especially given the current investigations into his financial dealings.


Marta, meanwhile, gave her space over to the government leader in the Senate, Aloizio Mercadante, who spoke in her favour.


The PT’s campaign team had their knuckles wrapped by the election authorities once again. They have been told they cannot use TV publicity in which they claim that Serra “has never stayed in any [official] position to the end.”


Meanwhile Marta’s ex-husband, Senator Eduardo Suplicy, has waded in with ideas of his own. He’s asking the campaign team to make use of their son’s talents. Supla is a musician whose tunes would be an ideal accompaniment to his ex-wife’s TV spots.


Marta then decided against going on a special program of interviews on TV Cultura’s “Roda Viva” (Live Round). Serra criticised her attitude and said that he will go on, although he was coy about his own intentions to attend a debate on the TV Record channel a day earlier.


Making Sense of It All


The Estadão guru was back in the press again. Fátima Pacheco Jordão claims that the public will be confused by the argy-bargy going on between Marta and Serra over the figures of former mayors, Maluf and Celso Pitta.


And you can see her point. More Maluf voters are likely to vote for Serra, yet Maluf has given his support to Marta. Marta is attacking Serra’s running mate for vice mayor, Gilberto Kassab, for having been Planning Secretary in the unlamented mayoralty of Pitta. But as the PSDB points out, Pitta was the protégé of Maluf. Who supports Marta.


Confused? You should be.


Jordão thinks the PT strategy is quite weak, that it has little substance. At its worst, it might actually lose the PT votes and it’s unlikely that the public’s collective mind has been changed.


But even though Serra may be the beneficiary in this election, Jordão doesn’t think that it will be his name which can challenge that of Lula.


If anything, she reckons the key individual will be that of São Paulo state governor and Serra’s party colleague, Geraldo Alckmin.


For more information and analysis of the São Paulo and other local Brazilian results, visit the election blog being run by Guy Burton and Andrew Stevens at www.saopaulo2004.blogspot.com.

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