BRASILIA.- It seemed unthinkable due to the ease with which Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva topped the polls for Brazilian presidential election in October. But in a few weeks the Workers’ Party (PT) plunged into a crisis, after a series of controversial statements by the former left-wing president and internal questions about the shortcomings of the campaign, accompanied by increasingly less comfortable figures in the polls.
The PT dropped out on Thursday, “for administrative and financial reasons”to hire an advertising agency chosen by Franklin Martins, Lula’s former communications minister and until now responsible for the presidential pre-campaign.
Publicly, the president of the PT, Gleisi Hoffmann, had previously said that Lula’s campaign communication needed to change. Left-wing leaders have publicly questioned a lack of social networks, the Brazilian president’s main communication weapon, Jair Bolsonaroin 2018.
Lula’s posts so far, many in social media videos, have been criticized by party leaders for the lack of “emotion” and a limitation to topics of the past.
“We are discussing the communication structure, the party and the campaign. We will take whatever action we deem necessary, but this is not a relevant issue.,” Hoffmann tried to play down this week.
If the PT cannot hide its internal differences, in a climate of nervousness that has become public, Bolsonaro is close to Lula in the polls, according to various polls published in recent weeks.
According to a study by the consulting firm IDEIA published this Friday, Lula’s lead over Bolsonaro in a possible second round is at its lowest since June last year.
Compared to another survey by the same polling institute in March, advantage reduced from 13% to 9%confirming a move by the far-right president.
“It is very uncomfortable to see our defeat in this year’s elections crystallize. A despair”said, with exacerbated alarmism, the lawyer Antonio de Almeida Castroreferent of the PT group of Prérogatives lawyers.
According to Andre Cesarpolitical scientist and analyst for the consulting firm Hold, the PT takes a “reality shock”.
“With each passing week, Bolsonaro eats away at Lula’s advantage a bit. The idea that some had that you could win even in the first round has crumbled to dust.said Caesar.
Various analysts agree that the significant improvement in the health picture of the pandemic, which pushed Bolsonaro off the axis of controversies related to the fight against the virus, added to the impact of the emergency aid strengthened in 2022, is at the origin of the rebound of the president, which also favors the crisis and the watering of the “third way”.
The crisis around Lula also follows a series of controversial statements by the former president on issues such as abortion, labor reform and an incitement by PT activists to go to the House of Parliamentarians to pressure the processing of certain bills in Congress.
Lula’s words have become ammunition for Bolsonaro’s campaign.
“Many are only beginning to be convinced that the idea that the election has already been won is nonsense. It will be the most difficult since the redemocratization“, entrusted to LA NACION a source which takes part in the assembly of campaign of Lula, a veteran of the other elections.
According to the same source, there is also some impatience within the field command for Lula starts “walking down the street” and meeting Brazilians outside of his support “niche”, which he has avoided in his recent activities.
“Bolsonaro is already doing it, we cannot stay in the background or limit ourselves to meetings with trade unionists or indigenous people”assured the same source.
The Hold consultancy analyst said that while trying to forge political alliances with other spaces and align a discourse within the party, the PT leader remains in a comfort zone. But the pressure to get votes is increasing.
“Until now, Lula barely said ‘I am Lula’, aware of his charisma and the memory of his administration. But now is the time to get out and play and seek other votessaid Caesar.
“If the trajectory we see continues, with Lula reaching a ceiling and Bolsonaro gradually rising, the leadership of the PT will have to reach a broad agreement more than ever. Otherwise, when the difference is 5 points, an even bigger crisis can explode,” the analyst concluded.