Jair Bolsonaro’s (PL) criticism of governor Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans) rekindled the bitterness that governs the relationship between the former president and his political godson.
While the Bolsonaro core considers that the governor of São Paulo should listen more to Bolsonaro, politicians close to Tarcísio claim that the former president’s statements are an unnecessary distraction at a time when the state government is concentrating efforts to implement its main political project, that of privatization of Sabesp.
Both groups consider that the crisis is a one-off, but that this type of situation tends to recur in the coming years, since both Bolsonaro and Tarcísio do not intend to change their ways of acting.
Bolsonaro stated on Thursday (16) on radio Gaúcha that “everything is not right” in his relationship with Tarcísio and that he “would never do certain things that he does with the left”.
The criticism at the time is due to the fact that the governor praised the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad (PT).
Bolsonaristas interviewed by the report state that the irritation extends, in addition to nods to the left, to economic issues.
One of the points that the former president did not accept, for example, was the stance in favor of Tax Reform sent by the Lula (PT) government. Demonstrating pragmatism, the governor stated that he agreed with 95% of the text. The project was voted on in the Senate last week and will now be analyzed again in the Chamber of Deputies.
Deputies from the government base not aligned with Bolsonaro consider that the former president was impertinent, especially when criticizing him.
Now, Tarcísio is trying to mobilize the base as much as possible to vote on a project with a level of difficulty rarely faced by a São Paulo governor, that of privatizing Sabesp, with the debate on the topic being contaminated by Enel’s performance in the energy sector, as a result of blackout earlier this month.
In the view of the base deputies, this would be the time to unite against the left, which is together in opposition to the sale of the sanitation company.
Questions about privatizations by allies of the former president had already opened a new front of embarrassment for the governor.
Bolsonaro’s group should vote in favor of the privatization of Sabesp, but does not rule out using smaller projects to send messages to the governor.
For them, Tarcísio gets irritated at the slightest sign of criticism from the former president, when, in fact, he should reflect on the advice of his biggest campaigner.
Publicly, the governor is silent on the matter. This Friday morning (17), he attended a debate at the 9th Forum Brasil Diverso in the capital of São Paulo, but, upon leaving the event, he did not want to speak to the press.
The report also sought advice from the governor, who did not comment on the statements, which mixed praise and criticism towards him.
“I don’t rule Tarcísio. He’s a great manager. Politically he makes his mistakes. I would never do certain things he does with the left,” said Bolsonaro in an interview with radio Gaúcha.
Bolsonaro compromised by saying that governors depend on the federal government and cannot move away from it. But he said that if it were him, he wouldn’t appear in a photo with Haddad.
“I wouldn’t take [a foto]. Then I’m radical. What do I have to gain from Haddad, my God in heaven? What do I have to gain from the worst mayor in São Paulo.”
This issue, however, is not the only dissatisfaction the root Bolsonarist group has with Tarcísio.
Part of Tarcísio’s Bolsonaro base in the Legislative Assembly had been holding back, but now, with Bolsonaro’s criticism, they feel free to voice a series of dissatisfactions against the governor.
Among the points is the authorization, in May, for the MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra) to hold an event in Água Branca park, veto of base projects without explanation, sanctioning of PT projects, delay in paying for amendments and indications and the presence of the PSDB within the public sector.
They consider that, once elected, the governor relegated the former president’s political group to limited spaces, especially when compared to other allies, such as the state secretary of Government, Gilberto Kassab (PSD).
The two main posts occupied by Bolsonaro’s core trust are the Public Security Secretariat, under Guilherme Derrite (PL), and the Women’s Policies department, which has almost no budget at all, headed by Sonaira Fernandes (Republicans).
Although both make noise to shake up the base with controversial statements and policies criticized by the left, the space is considered insufficient.
Tarcísio and Bolsonaro also have different positions regarding the election for Mayor of São Paulo next year.
While the governor gives very clear signals that he should support the re-election project of the mayor of São Paulo, Ricardo Nunes (MDB), Bolsonaro wavers, as he does not consider the emedebista to be a legitimate representative of the right.
For political scientist Marco Antonio Teixeira, from FGV (Fundação Getúlio Vargas), the friction between Bolsonaro and Tarcísio are the effects of “two distinct situations and stances”.
“Tarcísio is not campaigning, he is in government. Bolsonaro seems to have been on the platform ever since he won the election in 2018,” says Teixeira.
He emphasizes that the governor needs to have dialogue with the federal government, both to influence debates that affect the state and because the entities have shared responsibilities.
“Whoever becomes governor is governor of everyone, including those who didn’t vote for him”, he says, highlighting that the tendency is for tensions between them to become more acute.
Despite the clashes with the former president, Tarcísio has been making nods to Bolsonaro, who has already stayed at Palácio dos Bandeirantes and benefited from the law that amnesty fines applied during the pandemic, sanctioned a week ago.