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between Bolsonaro and Lula, the right tries a « third way »

Has the Brazilian right finally found its champion? On Saturday 27 November, the governor of the State of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, won the primary of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). Winner on the wire, at the end of a chaotic process, he should nevertheless represent the colors of the team during the presidential election of 2022.

This is to say if the affair was badly handled: the primary of the « toucans » (nickname of the members of the party) should have been completed by November 21. But a failure of the voting application (probably linked to a hacker attack) prevented the majority of registrants from validating their choice. After bitter debate, the ballot had to be postponed for a week.

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While the country had, on Saturday, its eyes riveted on the final of the Copa Libertadores (the annual competition of the best football clubs of the South American continent, won 2-1 by Palmeiras on Flamengo), the primary did not gather crowds. Barely 30,000 voters took part in the ballot, narrowly won by Joao Doria with 53.99% of the vote over his two opponents, Eduardo Leite, current governor of Rio Grande do Sul (44.66%) and Arthur Virgilio Neto, ex-mayor of Manaus (1.35%).

Controversial personality

In his victory speech, Joao Doria wanted to unite.  » No one does anything alone. We will need everyone’s help. From the union of Brazil. From the union of the PSDB. From the union of other leaders and parties. Hearts and minds for Brazil. Moving forward ! « , he said on Saturday, describing the primary as  » beautiful, brave « And announcing the advent of a » new Brazil. « 

The task promises to be difficult. At 63, the governor of Sao Paulo remains a controversial figure. A million-rich businessman with a dazzling smile and slicked back hair, the latter has the air of « tropical Berlusconi » and embodies like no other the arrogance of the richest region of the country. Joao Doria, who placed his men at the head of the PSDB in 2019, deported very to the right, on a safe and ultraliberal line, this formation, which had its roots in the center left and which ruled Brazil from 1995 to 2003 , under the two terms of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

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Joao Doria, however, knew how to use the Covid-19 pandemic to soften his image. A good part of the public recognizes a merit: that of having allowed the importation and production in Brazil of the Chinese vaccine CoronaVac, thanks to a partnership established between the firm Sinovac and the Butantan Institute, local equivalent of Pasteur, placed under the authority of the State of Sao Paulo. Applied from January 17, the immunizer was for months the only widely available in the country.

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