ADDED ON: 09/04/2021

LGBTQ Governor Who Backed Bolsonaro Now Wants Brazil’s Top Job

9/3/21 | Bloomberg

The presidential hopeful favored by investors in what’s shaping up to be a divisive and brutal election campaign in Brazil is the 36-year-old governor of a conservative state who just came out as LGBTQ. Eduardo Leite rode President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing wave into office in 2018, winning over financial markets with a program of fiscal austerity and privatizations in his southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, which shares borders with Argentina and Uruguay. His challenge now is to make himself known to the broader population, who largely have never heard of him, starting with Brazilians who reject both the incumbent and his leftist adversary, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He walks a fine line. He criticizes Bolsonaro but voted for him. And he says that although he supports equality, he won’t be an activist for LGBTQ rights. “In the election next year, we’ve got to create a path that is free from the Lula-Bolsonaro dispute,” he says on an icy August night, during an interview at the residential wing of the governor’s palace where he lives with his two dogs. The prospect of dramatic change in Brazil in 2022 is great: Bolsonaro’s popularity has never been lower, and Lula is steadily edging up in the polls. But 42% of voters say they haven’t yet made up their minds. “Leite is a very plausible name, and one of the most viable names for a ‘third way,’” says Deysi Cioccari, political science professor at Catholic University of Sao Paulo. “He is elegant in his political answers, he is thoughtful and calm, and this is in a certain way what Brazil needs to see itself as having some kind of normality.”


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