Right-wing merger aims to form Brazil’s largest political party


BRASILIA, Oct.6 (Reuters) – Two right-wing political parties in Brazil on Wednesday decided to join forces to become the country’s largest political party, intending to present an alternative to President Jair Bolsonaro in the elections to the ‘next year.

The Democrats (DEM) and the Social-Liberal Party (PSL), which Bolsonaro joined before his 2018 campaign, will have a total of 82 seats in the lower house of Congress which has 513 members, a larger group than the Party of left workers (PT) with 53.

The merger has yet to be approved by Brazil’s top electoral authority, but the new party, called Uniao Brasil, could shake up a 2022 presidential race that now appears to be polarized between far-right Bolsonaro and former left-wing president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

Lula, who founded the Workers’ Party and served as president from 2003 to 2010, holds a double-digit lead in opinion polls over Bolsonaro, whose popularity has plummeted due to his handling of the second COVID-outbreak. 19 deadliest in the world, high unemployment rate and rising inflation.

The Uniao Brasil party will be led by Luciano Bivar, leader of the PSL, who rose from nowhere to become the most important of the lower house of the conservative wave that elected Bolsonaro as president.

Bolsonaro left the PSL in 2019 in a feud over party control and its growing campaign coffers.

DEM leader Antonio Carlos Magalhaes Neto, former mayor of Salvador and rising star of a powerful family in the state of Bahia, will be the secretary general of the new party.

“This party was born with the mission of restoring optimism in Brazil and restoring the confidence of Brazilians in democracy,” he said in a convention speech announcing the merger.

He told reporters he expects the new party to present its own presidential candidate next year, backed by a renewed right-wing coalition challenging Bolsonaro, who has no party at the moment.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; edited by Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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