Attendees wave Brazilian flags in Brasilia, Brazil. (Photographer: Andre Coelho/Bloomberg)

Impeached President Tries Again in Anything-Goes Brazil Race

(Bloomberg) -- Among the many possible contenders for Brazil’s next president are an ex-army captain, a TV presenter and a former head of state who may be in jail by the time of the election.

Now, another eye-catching candidate has thrown his hat into the ring: Fernando Collor de Mello, Brazil’s president from 1990-1992, when he resigned shortly before being impeached on corruption charges.

In a speech to the Senate on Tuesday, Collor announced his pre-candidacy, positioning himself as a politically-experienced centrist. "It would be cowardly on my part to reject the truth and to diverge from one more challenge that destiny has imposed on me," said the senator from the Christian Worker Party.

Brazil’s presidential race is wide open. The front-runner, ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is likely to be barred from running after his criminal conviction was upheld on appeal. Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right congressman and former army captain, is currently in distant second place.

In a Datafolha opinion poll published on Jan. 31, before he announced his candidacy, Collor attracted the voter intentions of 2 percent of Brazilians, level-pegging with the Brazilian Communist Party candidate, Manuela D’Avila.

Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, who is also mulling a run for the presidency, had his candidacy publicly questioned on Tuesday by two senior legislators from his own party, the Social Democratic Party.

"I believe, and this is the feeling of most in the party, that there needs to be more of a dialogue with the rank and file and legislators of the party for this candidacy to be embraced by the PSD," said Lower House Deputy Thiago Peixoto.

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