Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

When toucans can’t

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on April 11, 2011

by The Economist, April 7th, 2011.

The opposition needs generational and policy change if it is to stay relevant

Toucans, Brazilians say, simply cannot get along together: those big beaks get in the way. They are talking not about the colourful native birds, but about the leaders of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), dubbed tucanos after their party’s symbol. The PSDB governed Brazil for eight years under Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who laid the foundations for the country’s subsequent economic success. It is still Brazil’s biggest opposition party, but in the past three elections it has steadily lost seats in both houses of congress. The next presidential election is not until 2014, but already three big beaks are squabbling over who should be the candidate. Many think the party will split unless it swiftly unites behind one of them.

The bills in question belong to José Serra, the party’s defeated presidential candidate in 2002 and 2010; Geraldo Alckmin, governor of São Paulo state and presidential loser in 2006; and Aécio Neves, who was governor of the state of Minas Gerais until he stepped down last year to run for and win a Senate seat. Pundits expected that after his second defeat, Mr Serra would step aside in favour of the younger, more charismatic Mr Neves. But by ending his concession speech with the words: “This is not ‘farewell’, but ‘see you later’,” he made it clear that he would not. (continue reading… )

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