BRASILIA (Reuters) – Ciro Gomes, a left-of-center former governor, kicked off Brazil’s presidential election season on Wednesday, becoming the first candidate to officially announce his candidacy for the Oct. 2 vote.
Gomes, 64, presented himself as an alternative to the polarized choice of far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro or Workers Party leader and former two-term president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is leading in opinion polls.
Gomes, who is running third in most surveys with single-digit support, called Bolsonaro “incompetent” and said he was elected in 2018 by an electorate tired of 14 years of leftist government by Lula’s party.
“Lula and Bolsonaro want to turn this into an election devoid of debate and ideas,” he said in a speech at the headquarters of the Democratic Labor Party (PDT).
The two could only offer the country a left-right polarization fed by personal accusation but had no proposals to pull Brazil from economic and political crisis, the former governor of Ceara state said.
A Gomes government would “save” state-controlled oil company Petrobras from being privatized, abolish presidential re-election, and do away with a constitutionally-mandated fiscal spending cap which, he said, favored Brazil’s financial elite.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)