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Viewing cable 06SAOPAULO623, PMDB LEADER RULES OUT ALLIANCE WITH LULA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06SAOPAULO623 2006-06-02 14:02 2011-03-05 00:12 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Sao Paulo
VZCZCXRO6287
PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHSO #0623/01 1531425
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021425Z JUN 06
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5196
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6303
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 2962
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 7152
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 2599
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 2275
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1384
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0314
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 2828
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 0993
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 2009
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0315
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 0994
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1736
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 2450
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SAO PAULO 000623 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE PASS USTR FOR SULLIVAN/LEZNY 
STATE PASS EXIMBANK 
STATE PASS OPIC FOR DMORONESE, NRIVERA, CMERVENNE 
DEPT OF TREASURY FOR OASIA, DAS LEE AND FPARODI 
USDOC FOR 4332/ITA/MAC/OLAC/JANDERSEN/ADRISCOLL/MWARD USDOC ALSO FOR 3134/USFCS/OIO/SHUPKA DOL FOR ILAB MMITTELHAUSER NSC FOR CRONIN SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD AID/W FOR LAC/AA SENSITIVE SIPDIS 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PINR BR
SUBJECT: PMDB LEADER RULES OUT ALLIANCE WITH LULA
REF: (A) SAO PAULO 573 AND PREVIOUS; 
(B) SAO PAULO 355; 
(C) SAO PAULO 30 SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. 

------- SUMMARY ------- 

1. (SBU) Former Governor Orestes Quercia, Sao Paulo state chairman of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), will support Senator Pedro Simon if he decides to run for President, but he considers it far more likely the PMDB will run no presidential candidate and will not ally with any party at the national level. He opined that having a PMDB Vice-Presidential candidate on the ticket with Lula is "no longer a viable option" because it would prejudice the party in many state races. Quercia said he would likely vote for opposition candidate Geraldo Alckmin but did not expect Alckmin to defeat Lula. He had low expectations of a second Lula administration, predicting that the economy will continue its low growth and Brazil will fall farther behind in competitiveness. Quercia has not decided whether to run for Governor of Sao Paulo state or for the Senate; the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) has offered to support him in a run for the Senate, but he doesn't completely trust them to provide full support. In the gubernatorial race, he acknowledged that former Mayor Jose Serra remains a strong favorite, but also noted that things can change very fast in politics. When asked about the recent violence in Sao Paulo state, Quercia pointed to press reports showing that the number of policemen per capita has declined since his term as Governor and said the blame for the rise of the PCC criminal gang rests on former Governors Covas and Alckmin, because "the police force has been weakened." END SUMMARY. 

------------------------------------- 

A PARTY DISUNITED, BUT MUCH IN DEMAND 

------------------------------------- 

2. (SBU) Poloff and Econpol assistants met May 30 with Sao Paulo state PMDB chairman Orestes Quercia to discuss the upcoming elections. Quercia, who served as Governor from 1987 to 1991, now has a wide variety of business interests. He spoke of his activities exporting high-quality Sao Paulo coffee to U.S. processors, and indicated he might be interested in investing in his own coffee roasting factory in the United States. When the subject turned to politics, Quercia said he had always favored the PMDB's running its own presidential candidate because it was good way to unite the party - "unless the candidate were Garotinho, who creates total disunity" - and was prepared to support Pedro Simon, the 76-year old PMDB Senator from Rio Grande do Sul who recently announced his pre-candidacy. However, he believed that either Simon would ultimately decide not to run or else the party, at its June 29 national convention, would decide - definitively this time, unlike at its "unofficial" May 13 convention - not to run any candidate for President. (NOTE: Per press reports, supporters of a PMDB presidential candidacy plan to hold yet another national convention June 11. Opponents have not decided whether to boycott the meeting to deprive it of a quorum, or to attend it and muster the votes necessary to defeat the initiative. END NOTE.) 

3. (SBU) Quercia acknowledged that the PMDB is being assiduously courted by both President Lula's Workers' Party (Partido dos 

SAO PAULO 00000623 002 OF 004 

Trabalhadores - PT) and by the opposition Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). The party's pro-government faction, led by Senators Renan Calheiros and Jose Sarney, favored an electoral alliance with the PT because it would generate more government jobs, including at Cabinet level, for PMDB members. However, Quercia opined that the PMDB would not accept the Vice-Presidential slot on the ticket or otherwise formally ally with the PT, because, under the "verticalization" rule, this would require the PMDB to ally with the PT in campaigns for Governor and Federal Deputy as well. He dismissed as "PT propaganda" press accounts that Lula was trying to talk to him personally about a possible alliance, though he acknowledged he had spoken with PT Senator (and gubernatorial candidate) Aloizio Mercadante. The PMDB remains essentially a loose confederation of state and regional parties, with viable gubernatorial candidates in as many as fifteen of Brazil's 27 states, and it requires the freedom and flexibility to enter into ad hoc electoral alliances with other parties in many of these states, Quercia explained. For example, he expected populist PMDB Governor Roberto Requiao of Parana state to ally with the PSDB at the state level, even choosing a "tucano" as his running mate, while at the same time supporting Lula's re-election. Some would call it schizophrenia, but it's par for the course for the PMDB. Quercia expects the party to retain its leading role in both houses of Congress. It will again elect about 90 Deputies out of a total of 513, and will have about 20 Senators out of 81; whoever is running the government will need PMDB support in Congress in order to accomplish anything. 


4. (U) NOTE: The day after our meeting, television news footage showed Quercia and Mercadante meeting with President Lula, reportedly discussing a possible national alliance. Quercia was characterized in the press as interested in the PMDB's providing a running mate, but as still concerned over the impact of such a candidacy on the PMDB's prospects in the various states. According to press reports, Lula plans to push for an alliance with the PMDB "up to the very last minute," or until the PT's June 13 convention, when the party has to decide on its alliances. If he can't convince the PMDB to provide a Vice-Presidential candidate, Lula reportedly will offer the job to Socialist Minister of National Integration Ciro Gomes or Communist President of the Chamber of Deputies Aldo Rebelo. END NOTE. 


------------------------------------ 

ALCKMIN AND LULA: NOT MUCH TO CHOOSE BETWEEN ------------------------------------ 

5. (SBU) Quercia thought the PSDB had made a mistake in nominating Alckmin instead of Serra, and he was highly critical of Alckmin's campaign thus far. Alckmin, in his view, had gone too far in trying to differentiate himself from Lula. His speeches not only aroused no passion, they dampened it. And Alckmin's effort to portray himself as humble and ordinary by taking commercial flights and arriving at airports alone, with no one there to meet him, might make sense on paper, but in reality, "It's anti-marketing. It depresses people." Though he planned to vote for Alckmin himself, Quercia predicted Lula would defeat him. He did not expect much from a second Lula administration, though he said he had voted for Lula in 2002. Lula had followed the same orthodox macro-economic policies as Fernando Henrique Cardoso, which stifled growth. Quercia lamented that twenty years ago, Brazil, along with India and China, was the country of the future; while the other countries are now arriving, Brazil remains mired in the past. Furthermore, 

SAO PAULO 00000623 003 OF 004 

Quercia - himself the target of countless corruption allegations over the years, some of them likely well-founded - believed that Lula's government and the PT, in implementing the "mensalao" bribery scandal, had introduced a new ingredient to the culture of political corruption in Brazil. In short, "probably the most successful initiative of Lula's government has been filling potholes," Quercia grumbled. 

--------------------------------- 

SENATOR OR GOVERNOR? OR NEITHER? --------------------------------- 

6. (SBU) Asked about the PMDB's posture in Sao Paulo state, Quercia began by saying, "I can't tell you what's happening." He confirmed, however, that he has been discussing a possible alliance with PSDB representatives. Given a choice of running for Governor or Senator, Quercia said, he would much rather run for the Senate. But he did not rule out a gubernatorial candidacy. In December, polls had shown him the front-runner among possible gubernatorial candidates, "and I hadn't held any public office in fifteen years." Since then, of course, Jose Serra resigned as Mayor and launched his gubernatorial campaign (ref B), and polls show him winning in the first round against all comers, but "things can change very fast in politics... Serra wants me to stay out of the race because if I run it'll go to a second round, and who knows, I might even beat him." He did not think much of Mercadante's prospects, and thought Sao Paulo former Mayor Marta Suplicy would have been a stronger candidate, but acknowledged that Mercadante's candidacy might boost Lula's vote in the state. 

7. (U) Quercia's analysis of the current political scene was intermingled with nostalgic reminiscences of his term as Governor, prompting Political Assistant to ask what sort of government program he would propose if he ran again. Investment in education was Quercia's reply. He spoke about schools he had opened and educational programs he had initiated, only to see them shut down by his successors. Asked about the recent wave of violence (ref A) instigated by the criminal gang First Capital Command (PCC), Quercia said blame should be laid at the door of PSDB former Governors Mario Covas and Geraldo Alckmin, whose policies, he claimed, had weakened the police. He was also critical of the overcrowded state prison system, noting that during his four-year term he had built 22 prisons. 

8. (SBU) In addressing a possible campaign for the Senate, Quercia admitted that incumbent PT Senator Eduardo Suplicy would be difficult to defeat, but noted that the PSDB had offered the support of their alliance if he ran. "I'd do it if I were confident I'd have their full, united support, but...I trust Lembo [Alckmin's successor as Governor, from the Liberal Front Party (PFL)] and Kassab [Serra's successor as Mayor, also from the PFL] and even Serra, but some of the people around Alckmin, especially the ones who date back to the time of [the late Governor Mario] Covas [1994-2001], they never liked me and even if they supported me publicly, I don't think they'd work very hard for me."

 ------- COMMENT ------- 

9. (SBU) Quercia left office in 1991 amidst allegations of large-scale financial mismanagement and corruption. He ran for 

SAO PAULO 00000623 004 OF 004 

President in 1994 and finished a dismal and distant fourth, due in part to a lack of strong support from the already divided PMDB. His political career was considered to be over, but although he never returned to public office, he has continued to exercise considerable power within the party, which he served (1991-93) as national president. Current PMDB national president Michel Temer, a Federal Deputy from Sao Paulo (see ref C), reportedly can't do anything in Sao Paulo state (where about 23 percent of the country's voters reside) without Quercia's acquiescence. In our meeting, Quercia came across as relaxed, detached, and somewhat cynical. More than likely, he would prefer not to run for or hold any office, but he is enjoying all the attention and holding out to see which side makes him a better offer, one that will enable him to increase his influence on both the state and national levels. END COMMENT. 

10. (U) This cable was coordinated with Embassy Brasilia. 

MCMULLEN.