Sao Paulo ex-governor joins Brazil Socialist party to be Lula running mate

Presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin attends televised debate in Sao Paulo, Brazil September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File Photo

BRASILIA, March 7 (Reuters) - Former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin will join the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) so he can stand in the October election as former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva's vice-presidential running mate, party members said.

Lula has a clear lead in early polls. Financial markets view his choice of Alckmin to run on his ticket as a sign he would follow moderate polices and be fiscally responsible if he wins office again.

Lula is expected to challenge incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, though neither has formally declared their candidacy.

Lula's Workers Party (PT) has not struck an alliance with the PSB yet to join forces in the presidential election, mostly due to disagreements about local candidates, including in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest state where Alckmin was governor from 2001 to 2006 and again from 2011 to 2018.

PSB Congressman Julio Delgado said Alckmin's membership was agreed at a meeting with the party on Monday. Other party members confirmed the plan for him to be Lula's running mate.

Alckmin was a member of the center-right Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) and ran for president in 2018, winning only 4.7% of the votes and coming in fourth. In December he quit the party after 33 years.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Peter Frontini in Sao Paulo; Editing by David Gregorio

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