With wide regional diversity, Minas Gerais is a state considered to be the synthesis of Brazil when it comes to electoral results. A president of the Republic has never been elected without having a majority there and, therefore, understanding the characteristics of each region of Minas helps to analyze the scenario that could arise in the 2024 general elections.
In the 2022 presidential election, Jair Bolsonaro (PL) won in the largest cities and richest regions of Minas – and which have a strong presence of agribusiness in the economy – such as Mining Triangle and the south of the state. Lula (PT), on the other hand, received more votes in the north of Minas, a region with a socioeconomic profile similar to that of the Northeast region of Brazil, with a significant portion of people dependent on state aid. The current president also won in Wood zone, a region with a strong presence of industries. The main city in the region, Juiz de Fora, is governed by an ally of Lula, Mayor Margarida Salomão (PT).
Despite Bolsonaro’s defeat in these regions, governor Romeu Zema (Novo) performed better, displacing the current president’s ally, Alexandre Kalil, even in cities where Lula received the most votes for president. Thinking about situations like this, parties more aligned to the right, such as PL It is Newhave been organizing themselves for the 2024 municipal elections in Minas Gerais, seeking to learn lessons from the most recent votes, in addition to using next year as a base builder for the 2026 majority elections.
The Novo Party, which has the governor of Minas Gerais as its biggest star – and possible candidate for the presidency of the Republic in 2026 – has been working to increase its relevance in the interior of the state.
In the 2020 elections, the party suffered from the strict criteria imposed by the then party president, João Amoêdo, which meant that Novo contested elections in just 5 of the state’s 853 cities, making councilors in just two. According to the state vice-president of Novo in Minas Gerais, Frederico Mianathe changes in the party’s management at the national level give hope for growth in Minas, with a focus on the 2024 elections. “With the removal and after the departure of João Amoêdo do Novo, the party has oxygenated itself and today, in the management of Eduardo Ribeiro, who is our national president, Novo is experiencing its best moment since its foundation. Last month, we had a record number of monthly memberships. Never before had Novo been able to enroll as many people as it is now.”
In addition to the changes in the party’s management, Miana highlights the changes in the way candidates are chosen, which previously took place through a rigorous selection process. According to him, the process has more of a training nature than just selection. “Obviously, we select, identify, it has to be aligned with our principles and values, but the focus of the process is much more training. It’s helping the potential candidate, first of all, to have training in liberalism, in our principles and values, and also training in how to campaign, how to do politics, so it’s a natural process”.
Novo’s leaders also highlight the flexibility to form alliances. Before Zema’s re-election campaign, Novo participated in elections without forming coalitions. After last year, this flexibility will be maintained, so that it can occupy more spaces. And the party counts on this, believing that polarization at the federal level will not have as much impact on municipal elections.
For the state party president, Christopher Laguna, capitals and large cities will still have an impact with polarization, but this tends not to be as significant in smaller cities. “When we go to our interior here, which is much more made up of political groups and ideology is a little aside, we fall into the problem of the city, the daily life of the city, the structural part of it. Then the debate shifts a little from polarization towards who is actually most recognized in the city.” Even with this flexibility in the search for coalitions, Laguna makes it clear that there is no possibility of alliances with left-wing parties.
Social and customs issues receive attention, but the economy will continue to be a priority for the New
Asked about Novo’s involvement in social and customs guidelineswhich have been an asset to Bolsonaro’s closest wing, Laguna states that the party pays attention to these issues, highlighting that Novo members have campaigned for candidates with values linked to the right in recent years elections for the Guardianship Councilciting the example of Belo Horizonte.
However, he considers that the economic agenda must continue to be important. “I really believe that you can’t do social without capital. We have to have good management to be efficient so that money comes in and we can do social work”, says Laguna.
Minas and São Paulo should have the largest number of PL campaigns for mayor in the 2024 elections
Despite Bolsonaro’s defeat at the polls, the PL is counting on the former president’s good performance in most of the large cities of Minas Gerais to build its strategy for the 2024 elections. His mobilization power, especially in the interior of the state, has great influence on cities where agribusiness is a relevant portion of economic activity.
With this trump card, the PL has ambitious goals for the entire country, intending to launch as many mayoral candidates as possible, especially in a city with more than 100 thousand inhabitants. In Minas Gerais, this would mean launching at least 34 candidates in the 2024 elections, a number that would leave the state with the second highest number of campaigns for mayor, behind only São Paulo.
According to the municipal president of the PL of Uberaba, Ellen Miziara, the party is working nationally to create a large base, as this was underestimated in the 2022 presidential elections, in which Bolsonaro ended up defeated. “We have observed the PL’s concern with structuring the base with people who actually are and will work for the party and defend the party’s decalogue”, she comments, talking about the letter with ten principles of a conservative nature which the PL assimilated after Bolsonaro’s entry. Because of this, Miziara also states that the party is determined not to form an alliance with PT and left-wing parties.
Still on alliances, Miziara comments that there is, in several cities, advanced dialogue with the Partido Novo, since the PL is part of the base of the Zema government in the Legislative Assembly of Minas. The party leader cites Contagem as an example, where the pre-candidate for mayor, state deputy Cape Júnio Amaral (PL) intends to have a candidate for Vice President of Novo and where they are aligned in terms of principles. Other large cities such as Juiz de Fora and Uberlândia are also working to have their own PL candidates, in addition to seeking re-election of the mayor Gustavo Nunesfrom Ipatinga.
Asked about her city, Miziara says that in Uberaba the party is working to have its own candidate. The city, known for being the world capital of zebu cattle and a reference in agribusiness, is commanded by the mayor Elisa Araújo (Solidarity), which was invited to join the PL. However, Miziara makes it clear that she does not want the current mayor to join just so that the PL has positions and does not participate in order to have a voice in decisions regarding projects.
“We made this invitation, we held a party meeting in which we gave her an agenda with at least 60 items that need to be adjusted in the city hall”, stating that the current mayor, to join the PL, must commit to issues such as economic freedom, reduced taxes, respect for agribusiness and an education free from indoctrination and gender ideology.
Miziara, who is state vice-president of PL Mulher, commented on the expansion of female participation in the party. According to her, of the new memberships that the party received this year across Brazil, 30% are from women. Training work is being carried out for women candidates, as they not only want to fulfill the gender quota required by electoral law, but also ensure that women have a good vote. “I’m sure they will work to get the vote. They will not be figurative people in the party, who are there to be able to fulfill the schedule”, adds Miziara, talking about the common practice in elections of placing expressionless women on the ticket just to guarantee that there will be no challenge for non-compliance with the minimum gender quota. .
Moving alongside political issues, the marketing of possible campaigns has already begun and, as far as legislation allows, potential candidates are positioning themselves. About this field, the specialist in political and electoral marketing Mariana Couto believes that polarization will set the tone of the conversation for 2024. “People are still very focused on this, ‘you’re on the right’, ‘you’re on the left’ is still very strong. You can’t sit on the fence. The public wants people with a firm stance”, he believes.
Mariana, who has worked in campaigns for over 10 years, especially in the interior of the state, believes that it is essential to know the region of the future candidate well, as Minas has many particularities and this also influences the way of communicating. “Minas is a country, and in each region you need to understand the place very well to operate. Politics is very regionalized and differentiated. In the countryside, for example, the mayor and first lady are very important and life revolves around politics. The population has a more acidic mood, they watch everything that happens to local politicians. In the capital this changes and partisan issues appear more.”, comments Mariana, who also believes that the groundwork needs to be done now, to identify and position herself better for the public.
The expert also points out that, even for candidates for the majority positions, humanization can be a differentiator in this polarized scenario. “There are agendas that are often more linked to the left, others to the right and it is natural for each person to align themselves with these themes according to their political spectrum. But a candidate for mayor, for example, needs to be bigger than this race and this can only be achieved by reaching out to the public and working hard, long before the official pre-campaign begins!”
Regarding communication, Mariana also reinforces that the use of artificial intelligence is inevitable in 2024, but warns of the possibility of candidates harming themselves with the tools “I believe that, especially in the countryside, the use of artificial intelligence for fake news about candidates will be bigger, precisely because there is a public very attentive to any slip-up by the opponent. But in any case, everyone needs to be prepared for this, both good and bad use.”, warns the expert.
With 853 municipalities, Minas Gerais has 14,471,876 voters and corresponds to the second largest electoral college in the country. In the last elections, 10,844,554 miners went to the polls.