Brazil's Bolsonaro to announce former defense minister as running mate


FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro listens to Brazil's Defense Minister Walter Souza Braga Netto during a military ceremony for the promotion of sergeants from Brazilian Air Force in Brasilia, Brazil April 1, 2022.REUTERS/Adriano Machado

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Sunday he expects to announce former Defense Minister Walter Braga Netto as his running mate for this year's election in the next few days.

Bolsonaro will seek a second term in October, but currently trails leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in opinion polls.

Braga Netto, a retired army general, previously served as Bolsonaro's chief of staff from February 2020 to March 2021, when he took office as defense minister - a job he left earlier this year.

"He is someone I admire a lot and who will help Brazil a lot in the coming years if we get re-elected," Bolsonaro said in an interview broadcast on YouTube.

Bolsonaro also hinted at congresswoman Tereza Cristina Dias, a former agriculture minister, as a potential running mate. The far-right leader called her an "excellent name", but noted there was room for "only one" vice-presidential candidate on his ticket.

Current Vice President Hamilton Mourao, also a former general, is expected to run for Senate representing the state of Rio Grande do Sul after a string of high-profile disagreements between him and Bolsonaro.

(Reporting by Gabriel Araujo and Alexandre Caverni; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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