Brazil’s Workers Party (PT) has approved former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin as the running mate of former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for the presidential elections in October.
Lula is a front-runner in the elections against far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro. Lula has worked for months to confirm his ticket with Alckmin, a center-right political veteran who ran unsuccessfully against Lula in 2006.
Alckmin is expected to ease concerns from business sectors about a return of a left-wing government.
The PT’s national directorate voted 68 to 16 for Alckmin to join the Lula ticket. It is considered a once-unimaginable union that seeks to stop a Bolsonaro re-election.
To stand as Lula’s vice-presidential candidate in an alliance with the PT, Alckmin joined the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) last week.
The PT clarified in a statement that the alliance with the PSB and the Lula-Alckmin ticket was needed to defeat Bolsonaro. Analysts add that the move will help gather votes from moderate middle-class voters who are uneasy about Lula’s past corruption convictions.
Lula still leads the polls, with Bolsonaro gradually eroding his leads.
Alckmin governed Sao Paulo from 2001 to 2006 and 2011 to 2018. He was a founding member of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), a rival of the PT.
He ranked fourth in the 2018 presidential race with just 4.76% of the votes. He left the PSDB in December after 33 years.