Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Brazil’s Evolutionary Election

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on October 6, 2010

IntervieweeJoão Augusto de Castro Neves, Political Analyst, CAC Political Consultancy
InterviewerRoya Wolverson, Staff Writer, CFR.org

for the Council onForeign Relations, October 4th, 2010.

Brazil’s October 3 presidential election gave no decisive answer as to who will lead the world’s fourth largest democracy in 2011. A potentially complicated runoff election is scheduled for October 31. Brazilian political analyst João Augusto de Castro Neves says Workers’ Party candidate and presidential favorite Dilma Rousseff–who garnered 46.9 percent of the vote–is still likely to prevail, despite a potential deal between her two rivals to pool votes behind remaining candidate Jose Serra of the Social Democratic Party–who received 32.6 percent of the vote. Financial markets’ non-reaction to the country’s election reflects growing international confidence in Brazil’s maturing democracy and economic progress, says de Castro Neves. But the next president will still need to create better economic policies that avoid traditional emergency economic plans and instead tackle the country’s new “risks of living with abundance,” he says. On the diplomatic front, either candidate would likely ease away from close relations with authoritarian regimes like Iran and Cuba, since these initiatives were the result of President Lula da Silva’s “hyperactive presidential diplomacy,” he says.

There is speculation that front-running Workers’ Party candidate Dilma Rousseff might be challenged by a deal between her close competitor Jose Serra and the Green Party Candidate, Marina Silva. How will that play out in the runoff on October 31?

A look at Brazil’s recent history shows that even when there’s a runoff, usually the one that was first place is still the favorite.It was a surprise that Rousseff didn’t win in the first round, but she’s still the favorite, [considering President] Lula de Silva’s popularity plays in her favor. The “transfer of votes” idea is very uncertain in Brazil. Even if the Green Party’s Silva declares that she’ll support Serra, that doesn’t meant that all 19 percent of voters will go and vote for Serra.

Why did Silva make a bigger-than-expected gain in the election?

First, opinion polls in Brazil tend to inflate the numbers of the official candidate, so some say they didn’t pick up on Marina Silva’s numbers.(continue reading… )

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