After the setback suffered in the tucanas preliminary committee, which defined a different weight for the vote of members and elected officials, the governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), is still trying to obtain more favorable rules for the dispute, while expanding the articulation within the party and gestures to the electorate.
At a meeting scheduled for this Tuesday (8), the national executive of the PSDB will determine the rules of the preliminary, based on the commission’s report. Doria’s allies in the collegiate still defend the universal vote, that is, each member votes with the same weight — but they are a minority.
The tendency is to maintain the format deliberated by the commission, which has been evaluated as fair by most of the party.
The model neutralizes Doria’s advantages, since São Paulo is the state with the largest share of PSDB affiliates — 22% of 1.36 million —, without, however, preventing São Paulo from winning the dispute. Also because São Paulo also has the highest percentage of mayors and deputies, who vote with the greatest weight.
Doria’s main rival in the PSDB, the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Eduardo Leite, defended a proposal with weight among the states that did not prosper either. However, as the current model also reduces the preponderance of São Paulo, it was considered positive by the Gaucho — who, like the São Paulo native, has conditions to win and is even a favorite among toucans from outside São Paulo.
Arthur Virgílio, former mayor of Manaus, and senator Tasso Jereissati (CE) are also expected to compete — although the trend is for a union between Tasso and Leite.
Because of the pandemic, toucans must vote through an app, and all members will be eligible until May 31st. It is already agreed that the executive will keep the date set by the commission, of November 21 for the first round and November 28 for an eventual second round.
Even without the prospect of success in trying to change the rules, Doria has sought, with a focus on the tucana dispute, projection inside and outside the party. He expanded his contact with toucans, at meetings and dinners, in an attempt to reverse image damage among his peers.
Last Wednesday (2), Doria announced a vaccination schedule for all adults in São Paulo, with the first dose until October 31st. The measure generated gains in popularity for the toucan, according to his aides, who describe the vaccine as “the Real Plan” of Doria. The governor has also made a series of inaugurations throughout the interior.
On the same day, President Jair Bolsonaro (non-party) decided to make a statement in which he defended vaccination. Allies of Doria understood the speech as a response to the governor’s calendar released hours earlier.
Around Doria, the president’s reactions are read as a sign that, for Bolsonaro, his biggest opponent at the polls is the São Paulo governor, and not former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). The latest Datafolha poll, however, says the opposite: the PT has 41% of voting intentions, against 23% for Bolsonaro and 3% for Doria.
The deputy governor, Rodrigo Garcia (PSDB), expanded the election waves, as well as the chief. Garcia announced to the São Paulo PSDB, on May 31, that he wants to dispute the Palácio dos Bandeirantes and has intensified his travels across the state.
The gesture puts pressure on Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB), who also intends to run for government and may accept state caucuses in the PSDB or leave the party — DEM and PSD are likely destinations.
Allies of Doria believe that Alckmin will remain in the PSDB and will accept another position, that of senator. Chiefs from other parties are betting on the ex-governor’s migration.
At DEM, the movement is fueled by the president of the acronym, ACM Neto, but the São Paulo wing of the party, led by the president of the Chamber of Councilors, Milton Leite, resists.
The president of the São Paulo PSDB, Marco Vinholi, affirms that, starting with the national meeting, on Tuesday, the issue of state caucuses (rules and date) will be discussed.
Doria’s movements are closely followed by Leite. The governor of Rio Grande do Sul made a tour of Brasília, at the end of May, in which he announced to toucans that he would dispute the primaries and approached Doria allies. Leite also announced, on Friday (4), that the vaccination of all adults in the state will take place until September 30th.
On the last 31st, the PSDB preliminary commission, coordinated by former senator José Aníbal (SP), concluded the proposal, which will be the subject of deliberation. The idea is to vote in four groups, each with a unit weight of 25%.
The groups are: one of affiliates; one of mayors and deputy mayors; another of councilors, state and district deputies; and the fourth group brings together governors, vice governors, senators, federal deputies, former presidents and president of the PSDB.
For example: in group one, candidate A has 60% of the vote and candidate B 20%. In the final account, A adds 15% and B 5%.
For toucans consulted by leaf, the proposal gives the chance for any candidate to articulate votes and get the victory. That is, there would not be a clear favorite. The bet is that Doria will not save resources, time and effort to make it viable.
“It’s the best combination for the whole party to mobilize, get excited and be moved by the candidates”, says Aníbal, who sees the launch of a competitive name as the final objective.
Doria’s allies lament the loss of São Paulo’s advantage, while the surrounding area of Leite still points out that São Paulo comes out ahead by also concentrating politicians with mandates in the state, which has 202 of the party’s 520 mayors, for example.
The expectation is low regarding the participation of affiliates, considering previous previews. In 2016, Doria had 43% of the approximately 6,100 votes in the first round and won the second round with almost all of the 3,200 votes. The capital of São Paulo had about 27 thousand members at the time. In 2018, he got 80% of the votes of about 15,000 members – the state total at the time was approximately 310,000.’
On Tuesday, the executive will choose between the current proposal; the universal vote; a compromise proposal defended by Doria’s allies if the universal vote is not reached, that the weight of the affiliates increase to at least 50%; and also a suggestion by federal deputy Paulo Abi-Ackel (MG), that state officials should be part of group two, and not one.
In the last test of strength in the executive, in 2019, to deliberate on the expulsion process of Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG), Doria’s wing lost by 30 to 4.
This time, the São Paulo native has gained new allies, such as vice president Domingos Sávio (PSDB-MG) and militancy wings, but he is still without a majority, according to members of the collegiate.
“A significant portion defends the universal vote, thinking of oxygenating militancy”, says Sávio, for whom “the model [das prévias] will not change the odds of A, B or C”.
He believes the process has been positive and expects consensus at Tuesday’s meeting. “The preliminary cannot be a fratricidal war, which leaves wounds. The PSDB is a democratic environment, this has price and controversy, but we are going to come out stronger.”
Doria’s allies are hopeful of achieving a majority in the executive. The treasurer of the acronym, César Gontijo, says that the idea of the universal vote has already convinced many people.
“There must be an intermediary proposal between universal vote and what was presented by the commission, such as increasing the group of affiliates to 50%. I noticed a very strong desire of all to reach a common agreement, so that there is no kind of divergence there in front,” he says.
Gontijo claims that Doria is the toucan with more chances of being president of the Republic due to the vaccine and the projection of São Paulo. “The favoritism is what is most viable, regardless of the model of caucuses. João doesn’t have plan B, what he needs is for people to know him.”
A member of the committee and Leite’s ally, federal deputy Lucas Redecker (RS) says that 25% for members is enough, considering that the PSDB is a party of cadres, not masses, and that a good part of the toucans is no longer so linked to the acronym. “Those who are actually in the party are more valued,” he says.
Redecker believes that the model should be maintained, without increasing the participation of affiliates (as Doria wants) or state directories (something that could benefit Leite). “Everyone has a chance, it depends on the work of each one”, he adds.
Also a member of the commission, former federal deputy Marcus Pestana (MG) says that the proposal for preliminary elections was very well received and was seen as sensible and creative. He points out that the model was designed for the 2018 tucanas previews and, therefore, “it is not case-by-case, made for or against someone”.
“The majority thought the proposal was very ingenious and correct in the sense of assessing the real feeling of the party, valuing members and holders of mandates who passed through the scrutiny of the ballot boxes”, he says.
According to toucans consulted by the report, the atmosphere so far in the party is calm. Although part of the federal caucus is against launching a presidential candidate so as not to divide resources from the electoral fund, the preliminary rulings are consolidated. There will be, in the program, five debates with those registered in the five regions of the country.
Rules of preliminary defined by the commission
They will still be voted on by the national executive, on Tuesday (8)
Electoral college of four groups, with 25% of weight each
- mayors and deputy mayors
- councilors, state and district representatives
- governors, vice-governors, federal deputies, senators, former PSDB presidents and the current
- 20.set – candidate registration
- 18.out – start of debates
- 21.nov – first round
- 28.nov – second round
Proposals under discussion on Tuesday
- Keep idea current
- Universal vote: each member has one vote, with the same weight (proposal defended by João Doria)
- Increase affiliate participation to 50%
- Add state leaders in group two, not one
- Mayors: 520 (202 in SP)
- Councilors: 4,372 (1,028 in SP)
- State Deputies: 72 (9 in SP)
- Federal Deputies: 33 (7 in SP)
- Senators: 7 (2 in SP)
- Affiliates: 1.36 million (about 300 thousand in SP)