Brazilian far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro Sunday tipped as his running mate a controversial retired military general who said last year that a military coup was possible in the country.
General Antonio Hamilton Mourão warned last September that the military could seize power if Brazil's courts do not punish corrupt politicians. Mourão was later removed from his post as the army's finance chief after similar remarks that the military could step in the event of chaos in Brazil.
Going into Brazil's most wide-open presidential election in decades, Bolsonaro leads in opinion polls that exclude former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been in prison since April on charges that lack evidence.
Bolsonaro, running as a candidate for the small Social Liberty Party (PSL), has pegged much of his candidacy on controversial remarks, whether defending the past military dictatorship or suggesting acts of violence against homosexuals.
In an interview, last year with Reuters, the candidate for the Social Liberty Party (PSL) played down Mourão's remarks.
"It was just a warning. Nobody wants to seize power that way," Bolsonaro said. "Maybe we could have a military man winning in 2018, but through elections."
Bolsonaro had struggled to find a running mate as other parties tried to distance themselves from his controversial comments. Other proposed vice presidential candidates - including another general, an astronaut and a sitting senator - ultimately fell through.
Mourão's selection was part of a flurry of political announcements in Brazil on Sunday, the final day for parties to choose candidates for the October election.
Lula's Workers Party selected Fernando Haddad to run as his vice president, according to the ex-president's official Twitter account, confirming the former São Paulo mayor who had long been considered for the role.
While Lula’s PT party says that he is the only candidate they have for the presidency, there is a chance that he could be barred from running by an electoral court due to his conviction. Polls suggest support for Haddad would jump if Lula were to back him as the presidential candidate in his stead.
Senator and former agriculture minister Katia Abreu accepted an offer to run alongside left-wing presidential contender Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Labor Party (PDT), according to a representative for Abreu.