Overview of Brazilian elections II

In three weeks, voters will choose Brazil’s next president, all members of the lower house of Congress and two-thirds of the Senate, plus governors, vice governors and legislators for the 26 states of Brazil and its capital. Brazilian general elections scheduled for October 7th still presents many uncertainties.

 The ambassador of Brazil, HE Mr. George Monteiro Prata hosted the second dialogue with the members of BNCC at the Embassy regarding the upcoming general elections and insights about the candidates for the presidency of Brazil. As in the last meeting, the ambassador began his presentation remembering that the country is holding its 7th direct national elections after the fall of the military dictatorship. According to ambassador Prata, none of them have been contested, what shows the maturity of the Brazilian democracy.

Alongside the president, he called the attention to the key role of the Congress and governors – since in Brazil, without building a coalition, it would be very difficult for the president to pass legislation. So, choosing wisely these candidates is crucial.

“The results of these elections are unpredictable”, said the ambassador. He pointed out two major factors that will impact the voter’s choice this year. Firstly, the country’s worst economic recession, which began in 2014 and is under slow recovery. Secondly, is the Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) corruption investigation, which involves politicians from all the main parties and has raised discussions about the necessity for a new way of making politics in the country.

The ambassador presented the five front-runners and their economic proposals, due to the focus on the BNCC interest. The leader with 25% of vote intention is a former army captain, far-right congressman, Jair Bolsonaro (Social Liberal Party). Bolsonaro supports conservative views with radicalism and advocates tough measures to fight crime, plus liberal economy. Although he has the most significant support, he also has the most significant rejection and according to the current polls, he would not win over any of the other main candidates in the second round.

​Right behind, a well-known politician from a center-left democratic labor party, former Congressman, former governor of the state of Ceará, is Ciro Gomes (Democratic Labor Party). He proposes an economic reform that is open to foreign investment, while he promises to protect the domestic industry. After him, an environmentalist with a compelling life story, who has run twice before, Marina Silva (Sustainability Network). She is an icon of the green international network and supports fairly orthodox economic policies. “She refuses to make alliances with other parties and polls indicate that she has been losing support”, said the ambassador.

Geraldo Alckmin (Brazilian Social Democratic Party), a centrist former governor of the state of São Paulo. Alckmin backs pro-market economic policies and has the support from the business community in Brazil. Even though his party is one of the most powerful and has 40% of total time of TV campaign, he lacks charisma and this can reduces his chances.

The last candidate presented by the ambassador, replacing Lula after his withdrawal, is Fernando Haddad (Workers’ Party). Haddad was mayor of São Paulo and former education minister of Dilma. Haddad is not well known outside São Paulo and the big question is if Lula has the ability to transfer his votes to him or not. The role to be played by social media is also leaving the election’s outcome far less sure.

​After the elections, no matter who is elected, some things will happen in Brazil, said the ambassador. Firstly, we will see a definition of the economic agenda, which will attract international investment. Secondly, there will be a window of opportunity to implement reforms, since in the initial period of his/her mandate, a new President usually has public support to carry out his agenda. Brazil remains a vast country with a very strategic geographic position, full of opportunities. “No matter who is elected, Brazil will still be the same country regarding its assets and strategic position” concluded the ambassador.