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Lula’s advisers look at the programs of his rivals to consolidate electoral alliances in Brazil

By Marcela Ayres and Bernardo Caram

BRASILIA, Oct 4 (Reuters) – As former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva looks to consolidate his lead in the presidential race ahead of the October 30 runoff, economists from his Workers’ Party (PT) are pushing for adopt the proposals of the candidates who leave the race.

Aides say the idea is to appeal to supporters of centrist Senator Simone Tebet and leftist former lawmaker Ciro Gomes, who together won about 7% of the vote in Sunday’s first round. Analysts estimate that Lula could have won the race outright with just one in five of those votes.

Political concessions in exchange for support would also help Lula make the case that he is building a broader center-left coalition to defeat right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.

The Bolsonaro campaign did not respond to questions about what the president would do to court support from Tebet and Gomes.

“Our program is dynamic. It is not completely finished. It was a program that defined guidelines, programmatic points, which (…) is still open,” said Guido Mantega, former finance minister during part of the Lula government between 2003 and 2010. ” You can’t love an ally without incorporating a part of their thinking.”

A second adviser, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, noted that many of the ideas in the Tebet and Gomes programs “are in line with the principles we have developed,” which should help create alliances.

Both Tebet and Gomes told supporters on Sunday night that they would announce their decisions on second-round endorsements in coming days. Tebet said that he would definitely support a candidate in the second round.

The Tebet and Gomes campaigns did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gomes has advocated a state-led renegotiation of consumer debt, which the PT has already cited in its national program without specifying.

Mantega said that Tebet’s proposals for education address an issue that is important to the PT and could easily be added to Lula’s platform.

Within Lula’s campaign, the presentation of more detailed economic proposals has been discussed, including details of the fiscal reform and specific fiscal rules that he would use to replace the current constitutional spending limit.

The campaign had refrained from such specific announcements, the sources said, to avoid opening Lula up to attacks and internal debate, as it sought to consolidate a broad coalition to beat Bolsonaro in Sunday’s first round.

Instead, Lula has repeatedly referred to his record in office, when his government ran a healthy budget surplus during a long boom in the price of its commodity exports.

Lula has also resisted announcing the name of his finance minister if he wins the election, and aides have said such an announcement is still off the table. (Reporting by Marcela Ayres and Bernardo Caram; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)

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