Buarque Joins Presidential Race in Brazil Promising Social Change

Presidential candidate Cristovam BuarqueThe national convention of the Democratic Labor Party (PDT) decided yesterday, June 19, to nominate senator Cristovam Buarque, a frequent contributor to Brazzil magazine, as its candidate in this year’s presidential election.

The decision was made in a closed session in Rio de Janeiro after several hours of debate.

Buarque’s nomination was recommended by the party’s executive committee, but a group of delegates argued that the party should not field its own candidate, in order to leave the party free to form broader and more diversified alliances in state elections.

The executive committee’s position emerged victorious by a vote of 236 to 97. In his acceptance speech Buarque presented himself as an alternative to the Workers’ Party (PT), the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), and the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL).

"We are totally certain that our proposal is different," he said. "They (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Geraldo Alckmin) will spin the same line, that all that is needed to resolve the country’s problems is to add a half point to the growth rate.

"On the other side, we have the heroic, embattled rhetoric of Heloí­sa Helena (the likely candidate of the PSOL), who doesn’t say how to go about changing Brazil. We will show that it is possible to bring about social transformation in this country."

The convention was marked by commotion and verbal sparring on both sides, those in favor and those opposed to the party’s fielding its own candidate.

At one point the Rio Grande do Sul delegation, which disagreed with the direction the meeting was taking, exited the convention, but it ended up returning and arguing against the party’s having its own candidate, as did nine other regional governing boards.

The delegates opposed to the party’s presenting its own candidate expressed fear that, in consequence of the "verticalization" rule, this would impose a straitjacket on political coalitions in the states.

Another fear is that the party might not obtain the 5% minimum of the country’s valid votes and thus lose the right to function as a legislative party, as determined by the threshold clause.

According to the president of the party, Carlos Lupi, the PDT will now endeavor to form alliances for the presidential contest.

ABr

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