News from Brazil

Politics & Government

In Brazil on October 8, 2010 at 10:22 am

ELECTIONS

Three more weeks of campaigning lie ahead but, despite a surprising last-minute stumble, Dilma Rousseff (pictured) is still likely to become the next president (The Economist).

In the races for state governor and federal and state legislatures, a total of 11m votes went to ineligible candidates. In the northern state of Pará, for example, two of the three front-runners for the national Senate were blacklisted. However, politicians can appeal against their inclusion on the list (The Economist).

Ms Rousseff still will have to produce a detailed governing plan, and manage an unwieldy multi-party coalition as well as factions in her own PT. All of this will challenge her largely untested political skills (Economist Intelligence Unit).

The Federal Senate emerges from the 2010 elections with a renewal hardly ever seen before. Traditional politicians of the opposition to Lula’s administration will not be back to the Senate for the period starting in 2011. On the other hand, candidates whose victories were not predicted by the research institutes got their seat at the Senate (Senado Federal).

See the full overview of seats in the new senate at Senado Federal and meet the new senators here.

Voters the world over complain about having clowns for politicians, but Brazilians embraced the idea on Sunday by sending a real one to Congress with more votes than any other candidate (Reuters).

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POLITICS

Lula gave Brazil continuity and stability. Now he needs to give his successor independence (The Economist).

Incumbent President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said that he plans to leave national politics alone once he steps down in January. Lula said he is going to live and participate in politics in Sao Bernardo do Campo (Xinhua).

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Brazil’s economic rise over the past decade has been nothing short of astonishing. While Brazil’s growth has not been as impressive as that in the other BRIC countries (Russia, India and China), Brazil’s key advantage over the other emerging powers is that the international strategic threats it faces are fewer and less dangerous. This does not mean that Brazil faces no threats at all: drug-trafficking, arms smuggling and guerrilla activity in a lawless frontier region in the Amazon are probably the most potent security threats Brazil faces from abroad. Read the article by Oliver Stuenkel (Pdf).

In spite of the upswing in their country’s fortunes under President Lula da Silva, many Brazilians continue to leave their home in search of a better life in the United States. Yet Mexico’s drug war represents a dangerous hurdle in the path of many illegal migrants (Der Spiegel).

Poland, Brazil and the Czech Republic are among 10 developing nations “on their way to graduate to the developed world” because of their fiscal consolidation and reduced reliance on external funding (Bloomberg).

EDUCATION

While Brazil invests twice what most other Latin American countries spend on science and technology — nearly 1.5 percent of its gross national product annually, according to the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) — and Brazilian universities produce a Latin American record of 30,000 graduates with master’s degrees and 10,000 with doctorate degrees every year, Brazil’s overall education statistics are generally poor even by regional standards (Miami Herald).

A Brazilian university has been ordered to pay $23,600 (£14,840) to compensate a student who was briefly expelled after she went to class in a dress deemed too short by officials (BBC).

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