Accumulating electoral defeats since 2008, when he left the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro, councilor Cesar Maia (PSDB), 77, left the political ostracism he lived to be the target of disputes between pre-candidates for the state government this year.
Federal deputy Marcelo Freixo (PSB-RJ) invited Maia to be his deputy in the candidacy for the state government. The same post was offered to the former mayor by the current president of the city, Eduardo Paes (PSD), on the ticket to be headed by the former president of the OAB, Felipe Santa Cruz (PSD).
The former mayor has delegated negotiations on his behalf to his son, Rodrigo Maia, who presides over the PSDB-RJ.
To Sheet he explained the reason for the interest in his name in this election as follows: “Perhaps because of the need for an experience brand”.
Both Freixo and Santa Cruz never held executive positions. The PSB deputy also tries to broaden his alliance with centrist parties in order to detach himself from the image of a leftist radical, built up as a result of his 16-year affiliation to the PSOL.
Maia says he sees no incompatibility in his eventual adherence to a candidacy headed by a leftist politician.
“My political life has always oscillated between the left and the center. When I went to the PFL the objective was for the PFL to move to the center. That’s why Jayme Lerner and I migrated together”, he says.
The PSOL, a member of Freixo’s alliance, declared that they were against his nomination as vice president.
Having been blamed by the deputy for the growth of the militias is also not an impediment for the former mayor. He claims that the deputy was right.
“The first ones made it possible for police officers to live in communities. But later dynamics showed that Freixo was right,” said the former mayor.
Mayor for three terms in Rio de Janeiro, Maia left office with low approval. His management was the target of constant criticism in the following elections, including from former political godchildren, such as Paes.
“My assessment is that the criticisms during these elections were distorted by problems with popularity at those times. Things of politics. Maybe because of too much time in government.”
The former mayor unsuccessfully tried three elections for the Senate, in 2010, 2014 and 2018. In the last one, he led the polls of voting intentions until the eve of the election, but was surpassed by Arolde de Oliveira (died in 2020) , whose start was similar to that of Wilson Witzel for the state government.
Maia attributes the defeats to the Senate to the low votes he had in the interior. He is currently serving his third term as councilor, a position for which he has always been elected as one of the four most voted.
Councilman Tarcísio Mota (PSOL) classifies Cesar Maia’s term as “independent”.
“He is not 100% faithful to the guidelines of the Paes administration. He usually defends the guidelines of public servants, like us. On economic and fiscal guidelines, we often diverge. But we have a lot of dialogue. He is a very respected councilor”, said Mota, contrary to chosen by the former mayor as Freixo’s deputy.
Cesar Maia has been collected since the beginning of the new coronavirus pandemic and still participates in City Council sessions in a virtual way.
The alliance not yet sealed with Freixo could leave the candidacy defended by Paes, Cesar Maia’s former political godson, whose departure helped in the former mayor’s decline, isolated.
Paes claims to “trust the word” of Rodrigo Maia. According to him, the PSDB promised to support Felipe Santa Cruz. The PSD’s alliance with the PDT, announced in February, is also at risk.
“Cesar is a very qualified team, very prepared and would add a lot to the slate”, said Paes.
Maia says she has no regrets about the criticisms made by Paes in the past. “As I have always debated ideas, this personal question never occurred to me.”
However, he makes it clear that the negotiations are conducted by the son and that he no longer has frequent contact with the current mayor. “No. His relationship with Rodrigo Maia has always been permanent, even after the 2012 election.”
He also does not plan to share a platform with former President Lula, Freixo’s main electoral leader. “The representation of the PSDB-RJ is up to Deputy Rodrigo Maia”, says the former mayor on the subject.