The Brazilian Social Democratic Party, PSDB, President Michel Temer’s main coalition ally, plans to launch its candidate for the 2018 presidential elections as soon as December, two senior party members said on Thursday.
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Senators Aecio Neves and Tasso Jereissati said a national convention will be held to make the decision. The party will elect a new leadership during the same convention. If there is more than one PSDB candidate for the presidency, the party will hold a primary election in February or March, Neves told journalists after meeting with Jereissati.
Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin and Mayor Joao Doria Jr. are seen as the PSDB’s most likely candidates in 2018.
The PSDB decision to announce a candidate as soon as December highlights growing discontent with Temer’s presidency, as his tenure is marked by rising unpopularity and accusations of corruption.
Temer survived Wednesday’s Congressional vote that would have moved his corruption case forward to the Supreme Court and could have ousted him from office.
The PSDB, which seeks to win the presidential election next year, was split on whether to back Temer, whose economic policies it shares, or distance itself from his corruption-plagued government.
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Ricardo Tripoli, leader of the PSDB, said Temer must be investigated, "not because we want to oust the president, but because Brazilians are tired of so much suspicion surrounding their politicians."
To shield Temer only further undermines the credibility of Brazil’s political system, Tripoli said.
The PSDB governed Brazil between 1995 and 2002 during the administration of former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. The party has often campaigned in favor of neoliberal reforms aimed at cutting public spending and reducing the state’s role in the private sector.
Neves, who was the party’s candidate in the 2014 presidential election, lost to former President Dilma Rousseff. He was tipped as another potential contender in 2018, until he was accused in May of taking bribes from the billionaire owners of meatpacker JBS SA. He denies any wrongdoing.