Marcelo Trindade reveals behind-the-scenes details of the campaign

July 2023

Marcelo Trindade was a candidate for governor of Rio de Janeiro in 2018 

The June edition of G5 Talks interviewed Marcelo Trindade, a lawyer and law professor at PUC-Rio, former CEO of CVM and former vice chairman of the Board of Directors of BM&F Bovespa. Corrado Varoli, CEO of G5 Partners, and Levindo Santos, Senior Partner, discussed with Trindade the role of citizens in building a more prosperous society. 

In 2020, Trindade launched a book called “The middle path: memories of an electoral adventure”, which brings his experience as a candidate for the government of Rio de Janeiro, in 2018. In 2019, he was one of the organizers of the book “130 years: in search of a Republic” and won the Jabuti Award for the work, which gathered articles by economists, political scientists, historians and jurists discussing the main facts of each decade since Brazil’s Republic was proclaimed in 1889. G5 Talks is a project through which business leaders exchange experiences and learnings with the team at G5 Partners. 

The electoral race 

During the interview, Trindade gave behind-the-scenes details of his 2018 electoral campaign to the government of Rio de Janeiro, starting with the surprise of his candidacy. Trindade ran in substitution of former volleyball team coach Bernardinho, who withdrew from the race and had Trindade as his vice-governor. “I hadn’t planned on taking this leading role. Since I was not prepared for it, it was a very difficult journey,” he said. The electoral result “was very frustrating”, according to him, not because of the 80 thousand votes received, but mainly because the elected candidate, Wilson Witzel, was “unknown” and has now been removed from office after an impeachment process. “Another unknown candidate was elected, with whom I shared other similarities, such as lack of previous political experience, experience in Law, and even age. Setting aside the merits of the candidate himself in getting elected, these similarities were very frustrating because it showed that people wanted change and we had candidates who offered a concrete possibility of this happening. Plus, I recall he spent 90% of the campaign behind me in the polls”. 

Despite this, Trindade revealed that he emerged optimistic from the electoral process, as he understood there was a conscious decision by the population, showing that, contrary to what is often heard, people vote with awareness, even though, many times, this does not prevent mistaken choices: “With all the limited understanding of what goes on behind a political-electoral process, what is truly behind a candidate’s message, what is true and false of what is being said, people wanted to vote for who they voted for. They wanted a firm candidate, who would repress crime, pro-Bolsonaro and with an anti-corruption speech. Voters believed in the message of whoever won the election,” she added. Trindade also highlighted this was a unique and remarkable life experience and he was able to witness the population’s desires up close. He recalled that “handing out leaflets face-to-face with voters was the best part of the experience, a very valuable way of being close and being able to talk to people”. 

A Rio de Janeiro of opportunities 

Even considering Rio de Janeiro as a Brazilian state with immense difficulties, Trindade said that the region has enormous potential. “It’s a place with lots of qualified people and offers many opportunities to be explored. It has a huge network of public institutions and municipal schools and the largest federal hospital network in Brazil, for example. Rio has a huge population who lack many things. In a way, managing this State is similar to the challenge of taking a company in a pre-bankruptcy situation and putting it back into operation”.  Trindade also commented the importance of the new generation getting involved in politics. According to him, a well-done political project impacts people’s lives immeasurably. “The current generation is much better at prioritizing public interests, acting in favor of the community’s interests. What happens is that politics continues to keep us apart. So, people decide to do other things to participate in the community. They prefer to engage in other projects, cultural and social, for example, since it is hard to join a political party. We need to take this energy and transform it into a stricto sensu political movement”.  Finally, he concluded saying that “my message to young people is to participate and change politics from inside out. This is a very vast field. Someone with the ability and talent can be quickly perceived as someone outstanding. There is plenty of room to act and the impact will always be relevant.” 

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