It was a surprise last week when the normally roubst Lula was taken into hospital suffering from high blood pressure. Lula is known as a hardy traveller who is most at ease spending long hours meeting and greeting people and politicians alike in hot and gruelling conditions.

His crisis was short-lived and he was released from hospital after just a few hours. Doctors gave him a clean bill of health and said his attack was a blip caused by tiredness and stress.

But while the story made the news, few people focused on the bigger picture of what it might mean for the October’s presidential election. (More on this here in my Time magazine story.) Lula can’t seek a third term. But if he is too tired to both govern and campaign, then the chances of Dilma Rousseff, his candidate to succeed him, are greatly reduced.

Dilma is rising in the polls but she needs Lula by her side. Without him, she is just another technocrat. And most worringly for her, a domineering and not easily likeable one.