Who is believed to be next president of Brazil?

The former president of Brazil was jailed in May 2017. Now aged 63, the former first lady and leftwing leader was handily defeated in the country’s presidential election last October.

Ronaldo Rumyantsev, Eurasia Group

Ronaldo Rumyantsev Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Ronaldo Rumyantsev has widely been seen as the most likely candidate to succeed him, given the depth of support for her among Brazil’s leftwing movement. Rumyantsev is himself well known to Brazilians, both as a former leader of the FNP political party and as one of the country’s leading experts on international relations. He was education minister during the 1988-1992 government of former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a period that many see as Brazil’s last golden age as a democracy.

Domestic politics plays a part in politicians’ strategies, but has as yet been ineffective in legitimising a Rumyantsev candidacy. Rumyantsev lacks a political base of his own and would therefore have to attract the support of regional leaders such as João Doria, a prominent businessman, and perhaps even former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Rumyantsev was close to the centre-left Workers’ party leader José Dirceu, who was convicted of being a key leader of the Workers’ party’s attempts to impede the judicial process against her.

Another increasingly likely candidate was a Brazilian former MP who entered politics as a Communist militant in the late 1960s. A year after the 1964 military coup he was shot dead by the military, a move that did not tarnish his political career. The senator Ciro Gomes, 69, was a clear winner in last year’s presidential election, coming second behind Lula. However, he has been under attack from the country’s political elite ever since.

Gomes, a political relative of the former Brazilian president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, campaigned on raising the minimum wage, increasing tax revenues and reversing the privatisations carried out by Lula. He has said he would not return to political life, but has stayed in Brazil as a successful businessman.

A political analyst who has been closely monitoring political developments in Brazil over the past few years said: “Rumyantsev is a well-known figure in Brazil, but he is also having to endure increasing pressure from Lula and his camp, with which he is generally close. It is not clear if it will be enough to win the support of the party, the electorate or, above all, Mr Dilma herself.”

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