The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) was faced with a potentially disastrous crisis on Thursday, when outgoing São Paulo Governor João Doria threatened to stay in office and not run for president, in reaction to a movement by factions within his party to replace him on the presidential ticket – a reflection of his lowly polling figures.
The move would have destroyed the party’s coalition in São Paulo and threatened its dominance in the state, which has lasted for nearly three decades. But, at least on paper, Mr. Doria got what he wanted. PSDB Chairman Bruno Araújo publicly committed himself to Mr. Doria’s candidature on Thursday, and stood by his side as the latter’s presidential bid was announced.
Now, as less than 24 hours have passed, Mr. Araújo is backtracking on his words.
In a press conference, the chairman said the definitive PSDB candidate is yet to be decided upon. “In politics, facts on the ground are worth more than pen and paper.”
If that wasn’t enough, Mr. Araújo even praised former Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite — precisely the man who is trying to pull the rug out from under Mr. Doria’s feet. As we commented in today’s Brazil Daily newsletter: João Doria can hardly rely on support from within his own ranks.