Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Why Dilma Rousseff is still a good bet

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on October 19, 2010

by Ian Bremmer for Foreign Policy, October 19th, 2010.

At a moment when voter anger has elected leaders in the United States and Europe running for cover, a healthy number of Brazilian voters would like to see more of the same from their government. President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has presided over several years of relatively strong growth, major economic improvements for a significant portion of the population, and rising self-confidence across his country. The 2014 World Cup, the 2016 Olympics, a more obvious presence on the international diplomatic stage, and the discovery of an enormous amount of off-shore oil have fueled the perception that this is Brazil’s moment. Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s former chief of staff, has pledged to build on that record.

That’s why this will likely be one of the world’s very few status-quo elections over the next year. Rousseff, who has now advanced to a second-round run-off on Oct. 31 against former Sao Paulo governor Jose Serra, will also benefit from the dynamics of a head-to-head matchup. With just two candidates in the race, the Rousseff campaign will have an easier job making the case that the election offers a stark choice between a more uncertain and less prosperous past, represented by Serra and his record as a minister in the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration (1994-2002), and a promising present and future represented by President Lula and Rousseff.

Polls suggest the race has tightened since the Oct. 3 first round, but the gap between Serra of the opposition PSDB and Rousseff has narrowed less than it seems, and she remains the clear favorite to become Brazil’s next president. (continue reading… )

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