Alexandre Kalil is not on the fence. He doesn’t even look like a Minas Gerais politician: without mincing words, the candidate for governor doesn’t shy away from questions, he answers everything in the can and leaves no doubt about what he thinks.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the interview he gave this Wednesday to reporters Fabíola Cidral, Alberto Bombig and Carolina Linhares, in this series of briefings by Folha/UOL with candidates for president and governor.
Before being twice elected mayor of Belo Horizonte, businessman Kalil had never been a candidate for public office and was best known as president and fanatical supporter of Atlético Mineiro.
He talks to reporters without censorship, as if he were in a Mineirão grandstand or at a bar table.
He hit hard on Governor Romeu Zema, candidate for reelection, and on President Jair Bolsonaro, whom he held responsible for Minas being an indebted state, the one that grew the least in the first two months of the year and having its road network totally detonated, given over to the interests of the mining companies, which are now advancing over the Serra do Curral, the Corcovado of Belo Horizonte.
“The one who understands Bolsonaro is Romeu Zema, who spoke out in favor of chloroquine, who thinks that basic food is a crime, that he has to die of hunger,” he shot at the beginning of the interview. “What candidate Alexandre Kalil wants is a formal alliance with Lula”, he made it clear, when he denied that he had “kicked up” the former president during the PT’s visit to Minas this week. “As there was nothing marked, so there was no cake.”
The formalization of this alliance stuck in the nomination of who will be the candidate for the Senate on the ticket that is being stitched between the presidents of the PSD, Gilberto Kassab, and the PT, Gleisi Hoffmann.
“There is a great effort by the opposition to try to undermine this alliance,” said Kalil, who called Lula a “great leader” and, at the end of the Saturday afternoon, declared that he would vote for him in the first round.
Kalil broke with Zema and Bolsonaro at the beginning of the pandemic, for defending social distancing as the best way to combat the spread of the covid virus, like other governors, and accused the two of having abandoned the state.
As in the presidential election, in Minas the campaign is also polarized between Zema and Kalil, with no room for any third way. The current governor came out ahead in the polls, with 34% in Genial / Quaest in March, against 21% for Kalil, but the former mayor said he is not worried about that because his campaign is just getting started.
“The governor has been riding the plane for two years, campaigning alone,” he justified.
Lula and Kalil are trying to combine hunger with the desire to eat because they know that one depends on the other, but it is not easy to untie the knot that emerged in the formation of the ticket, because the former mayor has already declared support for Senator Alexandre Silveira, candidate for reelection, who is president of the PSD of Minas.
The PT insists on the candidacy of federal deputy Reginaldo Lopes for the Senate and Kalil is already closed with Agostinho Patrus for vice, which would leave Lula’s party without space on the ticket in the second largest electorate in the country, something difficult to imagine.
To date, no candidate has been elected president of the Republic without winning the election in Minas. Faced with the impasse, there is only one way to go: decide the formation of the slate in the “palitinho”, a very Minas way of solving difficult things.
Although Kalil says he’s in no hurry to celebrate the wedding _ “what I don’t want is to go hand in hand” _ the fact is that now there are only four months and three weeks to go before the polls open.
Life goes on.