March 20, 2018 / 11:53 PM / a month ago

Brazil's PSDB selects Alckmin as its 2018 presidential candidate

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The centrist Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) officially selected Sao Paulo state Governor Geraldo Alckmin on Tuesday as its candidate for Brazil’s 2018 presidential election, formalising a move that had been expected since he was chosen as the party’s leader in December.

FILE PHOTO: Sao Paulo's Governor Geraldo Alckmin gestures after he was elected leader of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) during their convention in Brasilia, Brazil December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Alckmin was governor of Brazil’s richest and most populous state from 2001 to 2006 and again from 2011 to now. He ran for president in 2006, but lost to working-class hero Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is still Brazil’s most popular politician despite a corruption conviction that could bar him from running or even land him in jail.

Alckmin, whose support is hovering in the single digits in the polls, has made it clear he would back measures to shore up Brazil’s fiscal deficit and has backed an overhaul to Brazil’s costly pension system. He has also said he would support privatising state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA), or Petrobras, as it is commonly known.

“The state shouldn’t be a businessman. It has to be a great planner, a regulator and a prosecutor,” Alckmin told journalists after a meeting of the PSDB’s leadership on Tuesday.

Brazil’s presidential election, which coincides with congressional and gubernatorial elections, is scheduled for October.

    Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Leslie Adler

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