One of Brazil's Major Parties Chooses Its Presidential Candidate

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s third-largest party announced it had chosen Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin as its presidential candidate at an event in Brasilia on Tuesday.

Alckmin will be the candidate of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, or PSDB, which has won the presidency twice since the return to civilian rule in 1985. Recent opinion polls put Alckmin in fourth place in terms of voter intentions, though the front-runner, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is likely to be barred from standing.

Tuesday’s event was a mere formality designed to boost Alckmin’s profile. Under electoral law, parties do not have to register their candidates until August and there is at least the possibility that a rival, such as Sao Paulo mayor Joao Doria, could emerge within the party before then. With a nationwide presence and a significant chunk of Brazil’s political airtime on TV and radio, the PSDB will provide a substantial platform for its candidate.

Alckmin positions himself as a centrist who supports the market-friendly reform agenda pursued by the administration of President Michel Temer. On Tuesday he reiterated his backing for pension, tax and political reform and said that Brazil should tackle its fiscal deficit quickly.

"Brazil can move forward," Alckmin said. "Our proposal is economic growth, jobs, income and unlocking the economy."

He will have to stand down as governor by April 7 to run for the presidency.

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