News from Brazil

Politics & Government

In Brazil on October 1, 2010 at 10:17 am

ELECTION RESULTS (October 4th)

With most votes now counted it is clear that a second round for the election of the president of Brazil is needed.  Dilma Rousseff leads with almost 47% of the votes, followed by Serra with almost 33%. The surprise comes from Marina Silva of the Green Party who managed to take – against polls and expectations – more than 19%. The run-off is now confirmed for October 31, with Marina’s voters holding the balance. Where will they flock? Will Marina align herself with either Dilma or Serra? Will she be offered a cabinet post in the next government?

There were also elections for all of Brazil’s governors. Here are the most important states with their declared winners:

Rio Grande do Sul: Tarso, PT etc

Santa Catarina: Colombo, DEM etc

Parana: Beto Rocha, PSDB etc

Sao Paulo: Alckmin, PSDB etc

Minas Gerais: Anastasia, PSDB etc

Rio de Janeiro: Cabral, PMDB etc

Espirito Santo: Casagrande, PSB etc

Bahia: Wagner, PT etc

Pernambuco: Campos, PSB etc

Ceara: Cid Gomes, PSB etc

Run-offs are needed in the DF Brasilia where the PT’s Agnelo failed to get an absolute majority, in Para (PSDB candidate Simao leading) and Goias (PSDB’s Marconi leading). For all Brazil results look at the official election result site.

Outright PT victories can only be found in Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia. Strong showings by the PT ally Cabral (PMDB) in Rio and by the PSB’s  Campos (PE), Gomes (CE) and Casagrande (ES), show the dependency of a future PT president on her allies in several key states. The victories by the opposition PSDB and its allies, like DEM in Santa Catarina, show the economic powerhouses of the south, Sao Paulo, Parana, Minas Gerais, firmly in the hands of the opposition.

ELECTIONS

Unlike many Western nations, voting is compulsory for all Brazilian citizens between the ages of 18 and 70. Mandatory voting, however, does not mean that everyone is required to pick and vote for a candidate, as the Brazilian electoral law gives the voters two different options to not state a preference: voting nulo (null) and branco (white) (The Rio Times).

Both of the leading candidates are from mainstream parties and broadly endorse the pillars of current economic policy that have made Brazil one of the world’s hottest emerging markets. Still, there are important differences between Serra and Rousseff. Here are some of their positions on key issues.

POLITICS

Heavy government spending, oil policies and the new balance of power in Congress after the presidential election are among the risks to watch in Brazil over the next year (Reuters).

If one of the secrets to success in any job is choosing the right predecessor, then Dilma Rousseff may be starting out with one strike against her (Foreign Policy).

The Lula years have transformed Brazil and put it on track to become a superpower in the near future. But what sort of country will Lula’s succesor inherit? Read the analysis by Jan Rocha at Chatham House (pdf).

Life is better for Brazilians than it was eight years ago. But Lula is leaving unsolved problems for his chosen successor, who lacks his personal magnetism (The Economist).

The Economist interviewed Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on September 9th, 2010. Here is an edited transcript of the conversation.

The past eight years under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have seen Brazil grow economically, with millions lifted out of poverty. The country has also become more vocal and visible on the international stage. Ahead of the presidential, congressional and state elections on 3 October, BBC Brasil asked a range of experts for their views on the challenges facing the country’s next leader.

In a moment in which the administration of President Lula is dedicating itself to almost daily attacks against the freedom of information and expression and criticizing the press for reporting on irregularities in the Casa Civil, a group of public figures from various different sectors – including lawyers, intellectuals and artists – decided to release a “Manifesto in Defense of Democracy,” whose goal is “to halt the march towards authoritarianism” (Brazil Portal).

DEFENCE

Brazil is seeking closer defense relations with China by various means, Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said, “We are looking at cooperation in terms of basic training and the possibility of producing basic defense materials,” Jobim told Xinhua.

Brazil plans to present an extensive military co-operation agreement to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that could potentially lead to the sale of transport and trainer aircraft to the UAE, Brazilian Defence Minister Nelson Jobim said on 21 September. Published reports quoted Jobim’s “very frank and transparent conversations” with his Emirati counterparts about “all possibilities of co-operation from the UAE side and from the Brazilian side” (Jane’s).

HIGHER EDUCATION

Brazil is not a hot spot on the international academic scene. Universities looking for institutional partners, foreign students looking to study abroad, and professors searching for posts in other countries rarely consider Brazil as a first choice (Chronicle).

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