Vice presidential candidates.

(L) Gustavo Petro with Francia Márquez and (R) Geraldo Alckmin with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. (AP)

LatAm in Focus: How VP Choices Are Shaping Presidential Races in Colombia and Brazil 

By Carin Zissis and Luisa Leme

Colombia Risk Analysis’ Sergio Guzmán and Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Thomas Traumann cover vice-presidential picks in the region’s two big 2022 elections.

Meanwhile, Brazil’s vote doesn’t take place until October, but it’s shaping up to be a polarized, two-person race between ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the left and incumbent Jair Bolsonaro on the right. That leaves the center up for grabs, and Lula went after it in picking Geraldo Alckmin, ex-governor of São Paulo and formerly a political opponent.

Thomas Traumann
Thomas Traumann

Lula’s best chance at a win involves framing himself as a national unity candidate, explains Thomas Traumann, a journalist and researcher at Fundação Getulio Vargas. “The choice of Alckmin makes sense with the idea that Lula is now trying to make a broad coalition, not only to win the election, but also to govern if he wins.”

But will it be enough? Even if Lula has been leading polls, Bolsonaro has the federal political machine working to his benefit as the current head of state, says Traumann. And while Lula carefully planned who would share his ticket, “[Bolsonaro] is extremely like Donald Trump. Nobody really cared who was Donald Trump’s running mate,” says the political analyst. “Bolsonaro doesn’t want to conquer the center. He doesn’t want to be the president of all Brazilians… He wants to be the president of the people who voted for him.”

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Jon Orbach produced this episode.

The music in this episode is Danilo Brito performing Madrigal Merencório for Americas Society. Watch the video: