MANAUS – With the imminent affiliation of President Jair Messias Bolsonaro (No party) to the Liberal Party (PL), in a ceremony scheduled to take place on the day 22 this month, in Brasilia, is born an unknown about the future of supporters of the head of the Executive, aiming for the elections of 2022, according to experts consulted by CENARIUM. In the Amazon, none of the nine governors is from the same acronym as the country’s president, but six of them are considered allies and two are from Bolsonaro’s former party, the PSL.
Among the Amazonian governors who support the president are Wilson Lima (PSC-AM), Gladson Cameli (Progressive-AC), Antonio Denarium (PSL-RR), Marcos Rocha (PSL-RO), Mauro Mendes (DEM-MT) and the acting governor of Tocantins, Wanderlei Barbosa (No party and ex-PSL). Among the opponents are: Helder Barbalho (MDB-PA), Waldez Góes (PDT-AP), and Flávio Dino (PSB-MA).
For the lawyer, professor, and political scientist Helso Ribeiro, the governors will not need to be in the same party as the president to receive Bolsonaro’s support. Unlike the proportional system of the Brazilian electoral process, in which candidates depend on electoral and party quotients to be elected, in the majoritarian system the one who obtains the highest number of votes is elected.
“I understand that as the election for government adopts the majoritarian system, not necessarily the governors who want to bring in their candidacy the ‘Bolsonaro label’ need to be in the same party as the president. I even believe they can change, I would even bet, that they would change parties, but aiming to have more television time and the possibility of electoral resources”, he said.
Ribeiro pointed out to CENARIUM on Friday that one of the characteristics of representative democracy in Brazil is the fragility of political party loyalty, since candidates often “switch houses” in search of benefits that suit them. For the political scientist, a presidential candidate with strong electoral influence, such as Bolsonaro, tends to attract to his party, naturally, people who do not have this party loyalty.
“An example was the PSL, in the 2018 election, in which it was a dwarf party and ended up attracting to itself many names, also electing many names, among senators and governors. I believe that now the situation is a little different. It will be the ninth party of the president [the PL], and I don’t know if he is with all this popularity at this moment. But a presidential candidate always brings with him an entourage of people who try to ride on his popularity”, he emphasized.
But until when is changing parties in view of the elections a good strategy? In Helso Ribeiro’s evaluation, there are cases in which party migration helps a certain candidate, but on other occasions this doesn’t happen, precisely because of the electoral quotient.
“We know that there is, especially for proportional candidacies (federal and state lawmakers), the electoral quotient. So, two strong candidates in a weak party is almost certain that only one will be elected. There are studies that show that, if you were to join a certain party, it would be easier for you to be the first on the list to reach the electoral quotient, but this is not so exact. For some, sometimes, this is just fine”, he emphasized.
The political scientist believes that the unknown factor with the migration of politicians arises with the existence of party federations, a new measure that will come into effect starting in the 2022 Elections, allowing parties to organize themselves into a federation and act within a single legend. This mechanism, whose Law 14.208/21 was published in the Official Journal of the Union on September 29 this year, occurs in a similar way as the party coalitions, adding TV time and uniting when it comes to calculating the electoral quotient.
“We still don’t know which parties will federate, but I believe we will have some federations and, once again, it will be a big unknown, because you can change parties and that party will go to a federation”, Ribeiro reflected.
In the evaluation of the political scientist Márcio Araújo, the affiliation of the president to the PL is strategic, even if it distorts his speech of fighting corruption and being contrary to the system. The specialist reminds, however, that the PL has always been a strong party and organizer of the “system”.
“The political calculation is that of the probability of what will result the likely dispute between Moro and Bolsonaro. I emphasize the dispute within the right wing. The president’s comfort is to be with his ‘hand in the machine’ and, now, not to venture with an inexpressive party, as he launched himself in the last election”, Araújo pointed out to CENARIUM, referring to the president’s former party, the PSL.
Márcio Araújo points out that if former judge Sergio Moro embraces this same discourse, he will attract the votes of voters dissatisfied with Bolsonaro. The political scientist also reinforces that the close relationship and support given by Bolsonaro, a possible candidate for the PL in 2022, will take place less with an eye on the national party alliance system and much more on local context agreements.
“In Amazonas, Colonel Menezes tends to follow the captain. But at the national level, the PSL itself is in an alliance with the Democrats (DEM) forming a new acronym, ‘União Brasil’. The PSL has a federal lawmaker, Congressman Pablo, who will have to change party as well in order to walk in the campaign with the president. Will congressman Marcelo Ramos, who is from the PL, leave his current party? The unanswered questions pile up”, comments the specialist.
For Araújo, making the calculation of continuing to seek support with the president and his new party will be a differential for governors, like the one in Amazonas. “However, one must keep in mind that the current economic scenario, the rejection rate, and the change of party are points that assume a high probability of negatively affecting the beginning of the race for the second term of the federal executive”, he concluded.
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