Bolsonaro joins rightist party to prepare for 2022 campaign

Brasilia, Nov 30 (EFE).- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday joined the rightist Liberal Party (PL), which welcomed him as a future candidate for the October 2022 presidential election, in which he has suggested that he intends to run for reelection.

“We’re not launching anyone for any post … (but) the affiliation is a step to be able to think about something down the road,” said the ultrarightist leader after PL president Valdemar Costa Neto welcomed him “to the party and to 2022,” a clear allusion to next year’s elections.

In yet another clear electoral remark, Bolsonaro said that Brazil’s “future” lies in the PL.

“That future belongs to God … (but) we’ve already thrown the left out of Brazil and we don’t want them back,” Bolsonaro declared, seemingly intending to downplay the clear advantage that all voter surveys for the 2022 vote give to leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“We, who have votes and support, must lead the future of our nation,” Bolsonaro added in a relatively moderate speech more appropriate for the PL, a party of rightist supporters quite far – ideologically speaking – from the ultrarighsts that make up the president’s base.

At the same event, Sen. Flavio Bolsonaro, one of the president’s two sons serving in Parliament, said that the PL guarantees “new musculature” for his father’s “potential candidacy” in 2022.

Bolsonaro’s joining the PL was the result of intense negotiations and, also, the consequence of a legal imperative, given that Brazilian rules set forth that candidates for any elective office must be members of a political party.

The president won the 2018 elections as a candidate for the Liberal Social party (PSL), but he broke with that group after coming to power and since then has belonged to no political grouping.

The PL is part of the so-called “centron” (big center), a group of conservative parties that dominates Parliament. It is considered to be the fulcrum or balancing point for Brazil’s political sphere and is motivated more by pragmatism than by the extreme ideology that Bolsonaro espouses.

In fact, between 2003 and 2011 the PL was an important portion of the broad coalition that governed the country with Lula as president, and since then it has negotiated and cooperated in crafting a coalition of support with the political left and the center.

EFE ed/wgm/laa/bp

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