Brazil’s Prez-elect Lula picks running mate to lead transition from current govt

Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has appointed his running mate Geraldo Alckmin to head the transition team coordinating the handover of power with the current government of Jair Bolsonaro.

“Our priority will be the budget issue, to keep the Auxilio Brasil (Help Brazil) welfare plan running and raise the minimum wage,” Gleisi Hoffmann, head of the Workers’ Party, told reporters in Sao Paulo Tuesday.

In keeping with Lula’s instructions, the transition team will also include the President of the Workers’ Party and coordinator of the government programme, former minister and economist Aloizio Mercadante, reports Xinhua news agency.

The transition process is mandated by law and does not depend on the political acceptance of the election outcome.

Bolsonaro’s transition team will be headed by his chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, leader of the Progressive Party, which is part of the “Centrao” forces comprising the majority bloc in Congress.

The transition teams will be headquartered at the Banco do Brasil Cultural Centre in Brasilia for November and December.

“Vice President(-elect) Alckmin has the legitimacy and political capacity to carry this process forward,” Hoffmann said.

Alckmin, of the Brazilian Socialist Party, is a conservative who served four terms as governor of the southeast state of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s richest and most populous state.

Vice President Hamilton Mourao of the current government called Alckmin to acknowledge the ruling party’s defeat and pledged to work together to complete the transition.

Lula, who had served as the President for two terms between 2003 and 2010, won Sunday runoff election. He is set to serve a third four-year term beginning January 1, 2023.

This is a comeback for the former President who could not run in the 2018 election because he was in jail and banned from standing for office.

He had been found guilty of receiving a bribe from a Brazilian construction firm in return for contracts with Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras.

He spent 580 days in jail before his conviction was annulled, marking his return to the political fray.

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro, who is yet to concede defeat, broke his silence on Tuesday for the first time since the election, and thanked the voters who cast their ballots for him.

Lula received more than 60 million votes, or 50.89 per cent of the ballots cast on Sunday, surpassing Bolsonaro’s 58 million votes, or 49.11 per cent.

This was the smallest margin in a runoff election in Brazil’s history.

In the first round held on October 2, Lula garnered 48.3 per cent of the vote, compared to 43.2 per cent for Bolsonaro.

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