The Elections Portal is a comprehensive guide that provides easily accessible information on the 2014 Brazilian Elections, created by the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center. Here, you can find background on the party platforms, the candidates, polls, debates, and information on important issues to the electorate. Our objective is to inform, educate, and foster dialogue.
Introduction by Layne Vandenberg and Erica Kliment:
The third debate in the Brazilian presidential race was held Tuesday, September 16th, by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) in São Paulo, Brazil. The three frontrunners of the race, Aécio Neves, Marina Silva, and the incumbent Dilma Rousseff, were the focus of the debate as the candidates discussed issues of “health, poverty, corruption, political reform and economic policies.” The most recent Ibope poll released on September 23rd shows for the first time that Marina and Dilma would be tied in the second round of the runoff.
Ex-senator and environmental minister, Marina Silva, remains President Rousseff’s most prominent adversary. Both President Dilma and Marina are praised, respectively, for their stories leading to their candidacies, including Marina’s underprivileged childhood in the Amazon and Dilma’s activism as a former guerrilla who was captured and tortured during Brazil’s military dictatorship.
The CNBB hosted the event in the midst of a race that has heavily included debate about religious issues, mostly attributable to Marina’s strong evangelical discourse. However, during this specific debate, the three candidates avoided commentating on religiously-charged topics including abortion, homosexual marriage and the legalization of marijuana. Earlier in her campaign, Marina reversed her position on supporting same sex marriage in favor of supporting civil unions between same sex couples, alleging it was a printing error.
In terms of social programs, Marina conceded she would maintain many social programs originally created by former President Lula da Silva and Rousseff herself. Marina’s campaign has relied heavily on her environmental activism and support of various social initiatives. In the emotional new campaign ad released by Marina earlier this week, Marina defends herself against recent attacks made by President Rousseff and states her commitment to the Bolsa Família program, a social policy that addresses poverty and income inequality in Brazil.
Recent government scandals also took center stage as the candidates debated the corruption scandal with Petrobras, a state-owned oil company. In defense to attacks from both Aécio Neves and Marina regarding the scandal, President Rousseff maintained her zero-tolerance policy against corruption and cited her administration’s role in the current investigations of the case. Brazil’s Central Bank was also discussed by the candidates, specifically in terms of its possible independence as an institution.
The first round of elections will be held on October 5, 2014.
Written by Layne Vandenberg; edited by Erica Kliment. Vandenberg and Kliment are staff interns at the Brazil Institute.