Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said during a TV interview Sunday that he had chosen former Defense Minister General Walter Braga Netto as his running mate for the Oct. 2 elections and that the official announcement is to be made shortly.
I intend to announce in the coming days General Braga Netto as vice president, said the President. Braga Netto has 45 years of service in the barracks, he was interventor for approximately one year in Rio de Janeiro, came to our government with the difficult mission of the Civil House during the pandemic, went to the Ministry of Defense, and became discharged in order to be free to run for elective office. He is a person I admire a lot. He is someone who will, in case I get elected, help Brazil a lot in the next years.
Bolsonaro admitted he had also pondered former Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina and General Augusto Heleno for the position, but Vice is only one, I would like to be able to nominate ten; I wouldn't have any problems, he added.
The Brazilian president also admitted he was willing to offer political asylum to Bolivia's former interim President Jeanine Áñez, who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for acts against the Constitution which resulted in the departure from office of then-President Evo Morales.
Bolsonaro also criticized his rival and former President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva for dodging the Áñez issue altogether. Morales and current President Luis Arce Catacora are friends with Lula and Lula says absolutely nothing about this case, he underlined.
In Bolsonarist circles, choosing Braga Netto has been labeled as a mistake that could be fatal, according to G1. Leaders making up the group of conservative-like tendencies known collectively as Centrão (Big Center) admitted they would have preferred Tereza Cristina.
According to Brazilian media, Braga Netto is a personal guarantee for Bolsonaro against possible impeachment. But opposite Bolsonaro's preferences, his allies had evaluated that a woman with excellent ties within the agribusiness community would help Bolsonaro narrow the gap with Lula, who is ahead in all polls while reducing the female public's rejection.
Amid increasing hardships, Bolsonarist analysts are already looking for advancing to a runoff as the best-case case scenario for the incumbent President, but with a general vice-president and a bad economy, he will not win in the decisive stage of the election, G1 reported.
Bolsonaro preferred Braga Netto over Tereza Cristina out of fear that the Centrão, with a vice-president from their own ranks, could repeat with him what the MDB did with then-President Dilma Rousseff, whose impeachment they endorsed, leading up to Michel Temer's promotion.
Asked if he would participate in the presidential debates with Lula, Bolsonaro acknowledged that the possibility exists.
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