News from Brazil

Politics & Government

In Brazil on October 22, 2010 at 9:38 am

ELECTIONS

After months in which even his fellow party members had given him up for lost, José Serra, the runner-up in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election, now looks as if he has a slim chance (The Economist).

But Rousseff extended her lead over opposition challenger Jose Serra again to 10 percentage points in a new opinion poll released today. It was the third poll this week to show her gaining ground after a rough few weeks in which a re-energized Serra narrowed the gap (Reuters).

How much credence should Brazilians be giving to opinion polls? The last few polls have put Ms Rousseff on between 53% and 57%, a big difference in a two-horse race (she is facing José Serra of the centrist Party of Brazilian Social Democracy). Those figures can’t both be right. Are either of them? Read on at The Economist.

Marina Silva, the defeated Green Party candidate in Brazil’s presidential election has said she will remain neutral before the second round run-off vote on 31 October (BBC).

Brazilian presidential candidate Jose Serra was hit on the head by an object while out campaigning in Rio de Janeiro at an election rally (BBC).

Brazilian presidential frontrunner Dilma Rousseff and her opponent Jose Serra clashed over privatization while making no mention of abortion in their second head-to-head debate (Businessweek).

The unexpectedly close battle in Brazil’s presidential election has heightened investor unease and threatens to fuel financial market volatility in Latin America’s largest economy. Read the key political risks to watch in Brazil according to Reuters.

Serra is still leading among the voters in Brazil Weekly’s own reader poll:

POLITICS

The return of Itamar Franco, as of January, by the PSB from Minas Gerais, will bring to the Senate, as of 2011, three former presidents of the Republic. Senators José Sarney (PMDB-AP), Fernando Collor (PTB-AL) and Itamar Franco share the condition of having, as presidents, endorsed the most radical economic plans destined to restore economic stability to a country hit by a galloping inflation in the 80s  (Senado Federal).

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

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INTERNATIONAL

Governments are increasingly taking the economic value of nature into account in policy-making, with growing interest in results from a UN-backed analysis. The Brazilian and Indian governments are among those keen to use findings from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb) project (BBC).

Several South American countries from the Mercosur trade bloc have officially complained to the UK over planned Falkland Islands military exercises. Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay joined protests from Argentina, which lays claim to what it calls the Malvinas (BBC).

This year Brazil has emerged as Chile’s largest trading partner in South America and one of the most important destinations for Chile’s investment. Overall, trade between Brazil and Chile has grown 66%, while Brazil replaced Colombia as second highest location for Chilean Investment (Mercopress).

Brazil’s top economic officials will not be attending meetings of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in South Korea this week, the finance ministry and central bank press offices said (Reuters).

Brazil is seeking a partnership with Argentina and other South American producers of grains and oilseeds to deal jointly with buyers in Asia and elsewhere, according to Brazilian Agriculture Minister Wagner Rossi (Bloomberg).

DEFENCE & SECURITY

One disturbing issue has been largely overlooked by both domestic and international commentators during the election campaign: Since 2004, Brazil has refused to grant inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, full access to its nuclear facilities, in violation of Brasilia’s obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Read the analysis by Oliver Stuenkel.

For decades successive Brazilian governments have taken great efforts to find hydrocarbons, lower oil imports, and develop a national market for sugarcane based ethanol as a transportation fuel substitute. Today, Brazil’s new-found hydrocarbon bonanza promises to rapidly increase oil and gas production, fuel a national drive toward economic and social development, and swell the country’s geopolitical weight around the world. Read about Brazil’s “Big Oil Play” and “How This Nation is Charting National Energy Security” in the Journal of Energy Security.

Top level officers from Colombia, Peru and Brazil met to discuss security issues. During a meeting in Leticia in Colombia’s Amazonas department, military officers from the three countries discussed the nuclear agreement signed between Venezuela and Russia, as well as the problem of guerillas in their territories (Xinhua).

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