In the electoral race in São Paulo, mayor Ricardo Nunes (MDB) is betting on the president of the Chamber of Councilors, Milton Leite (União Brasil), a long-time ally, to close the gap to the opponent who has been leading voting intention polls, federal deputy Guilherme Boulos (Psol).
Considered one of the main political leaders in the capital of São Paulo, Leite has accumulated seven consecutive terms as a councilor since 1997. Having a consolidated electoral stronghold in the south zone of São Paulo, Milton Leite appears as Nunes’ bet for the October election.
In an interview with People’s Gazette, the mayor of São Paulo says that recent internal surveys, commissioned by the party, show Nunes ahead of Boulos. “The polls carried out by União Brasil already put Mayor Ricardo Nunes ahead. It is in these surveys that we believe”, declares Leite.
The councilor is one of the politicians still trying to realize the possibility of being Ricardo Nunes’ vice president, despite former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) having nominated Colonel Mello Araújo for the vacancy. “I have already publicly announced that I will not run for re-election as councilor. I made my name available to União Brasil for vice-mayor of Ricardo Nunes and this will be discussed at the appropriate time, internally and with other parties, including the PL”, says Milton Leite.
In his assessment, the south zone could make a difference for Nunes in the election. “Our work will make a difference in the south zone and throughout the city. Not just my performance, but that of the entire União Brasil, which has strong representation in every corner of the capital. We will be engaged in the campaign alongside Mayor Ricardo Nunes and we have many achievements to show in all regions of São Paulo”, believes the councilor.
PT and Psol bet on the east zone to win elections in São Paulo
Historically, the PT garners strong support in the east zone of São Paulo, as evidenced in the victories of Fernando Haddad in 2011 and Marta Suplicy in 2000. Boulos counts on the region to boost his candidacy for mayor of São Paulo.
“The PT made an important move with the appointment of Marta Suplicy as Guilherme’s deputy. I believe that this combines the strength that Guilherme has with experience. We are very optimistic about the possibility of victory for this alliance between Psol and PT”, declares the president of the state federation formed between Psol and Rede, João Paulo Rillowhich evaluates the east side of the city as “historically more progressive”.
In an interview with People’s Gazette, the state president of Psol cited left-wing leaders beyond the stronghold. “In the south zone we have historical centers, such as the group linked to the Tatos [deputados Jilmar Tato e Enio Tato]. The election in São Paulo has a different characteristic: São Paulo alone has the strength of a country, due to the economic importance and cultural richness of the city. Inevitably this election will at some point nationalize. Obviously there will be a territorial campaign as well.”
He also analyzed the panorama of alliances, pointing out that it is still too early to define definitions. “The PT leaves with some parties: PV, PCdoB, Psol and Rede. And the PDT even signaled that it will support Boulos. There may be other parties in the alliance, but it is still too early to decide.”
Rillo argues that President Lula (PT) has more weight in the city than Governor Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans) and former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) “I have no doubt that President Lula’s weight in the capital is much greater than Bolsonaro’s weight. And Tarcísio does not have any greater weight than Bolsonaro. He is only governor of São Paulo because of Bolsonaro and the advantage he had in the interior, because in the capital he lost the election”, points out the psolist.
Leader of the PT and PCdoB federation in the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo (Alesp), the state deputy Paulo Fiorilo, lists the most important neighborhoods for the PT in the east zone. “The east zone has always had a huge impact, especially the regions of Cidade Tiradentes, São Mateus and Sapopemba. With part of the south zone too. Let’s campaign all over the city. With Marta, the PT has a large insertion, which will help guarantee votes for Boulos’ election. If you look at the significant votes that the PT has in the city and Boulos, they are in these regions: east and south”.
Fiorilo compares the support of political godfathers and the possible transfer of votes to Nunes and Boulos. “The state governor is not from São Paulo, he knows little about the city, and the former president is in a difficult situation. The vote of the President of the Chamber as a councilor is not compared to that of the Eduardo Suplicy. Nunes has both machines [prefeitura e governo do estado]but Boulos has the PT, which is familiar in the city, in addition to President Lula and Marta”, says the parliamentarian.
He adds that, for now, these speculations revolve around the political environment itself, and do not yet reach the popular area. “The election only starts when there is television, when people start to worry about their choices. Today, we are the ones who care most about this – those who are in politics and those who cover politics – but voters are not yet plugged in. This will start in August”, says Fiorilo.