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Brazil’s Alckmin picks conservative senator as running mate

August 3, 2018
Geraldo Alckmin
Geraldo Alckmin, presidential hopeful and former Sao Paulo governor. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s right-leaning presidential hopeful Geraldo Alckmin picked a senator favored by farming leaders as his running mate for October’s election.

Sen. Ana Amelia is Alckmin’s choice for vice president. She is a member of the Progressive Party, which has frequently been investigated by Brazil’s top court.

“It is good news that she accepted,” Alckmin told GloboNews on Thursday night. “It is an important gesture since she was a candidate for re-election and gave it up.”

“The more women participate, the better for society,” the presidential candidate continued. “There was no better choice.”

Former Sao Paulo Gov. Alckmin is a member of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, and the Progressive Party recently endorsed his candidacy.

But he is struggling to top 10 percent in the polls and faces stiff opposition from Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, who has almost double the support.

For now, jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva leads with more than 30 percent, but members of Brazil’s electoral court suggest he will likely be barred from running.

Alckmin initially tried to lure textile businessman Josue Gomes to his ticket, but a got a no.

Allies of the presidential candidate say the move to bring Amelia onto the ticket is aimed at boosting Alckmin’s chances in southern Brazil and strengthening his connection with farmers nationwide.

Former environment minister Marina Silva also announced on Thursday night that Eduardo Jorge, a presidential candidate in 2014 and a key leader of Brazil’s Green Party, will be her running mate.

Silva polls third in several polls, but her party’s infrastructure is considered to be modest for a nationwide campaign.

On Friday, the Workers’ Party said that da Silva will be visited by chairwoman Gleisi Hoffmann and former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad to discuss potential running mates for his ticket.

Haddad is seen as a potential substitute for Silva if he is indeed barred from running.

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