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.
Second Presidential Debate in Brazil’s Second Round Election Runoff
Layne Vandenberg – Brazil Institute, 10/16/2014
The second set of presidential debates between the incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT) and Aécio Neves of the Social Democratic Party (PSDB) takes place tonight. This debate, following the first one last Tuesday (10/14), will hopefully begin to turn the tides of Brazilian voters in what Mauro Paulino, a Datafolha pollster, says is one of the most unpredictable elections in Brazil’s history.
After the first round of voting on October 5th, the candidates were narrowed down to two: Dilma Rousseff, who received 41.5% of the votes, and Aécio Neves, who received 31.5%. Third place runner-up, Marina Silva (PSB), who was anticipated to advance to the second round along with Rousseff because of her rapid rise after the death of Eduardo Campos, was left with only 21.3%. This past Sunday, Silva officially endorsed Neves, possibly posing herself as king maker of the election. Rousseff and Neves will compete in a second round runoff election on October 26th to determine the presidency.
Tuesday’s debate featured the main topics of the economy, corruption, and social welfare. When discussing the economy, Neves blamed Rousseff for unprecedented levels of inflation, the devaluation of the real, the deceleration of the Brazilian economy, and the weakened performance of Brazilian industries and businesses. In response, Rousseff discussed Neves’ role in reducing public banks as governor of the state of Minas Gerais. Many anticipate Neves’ possible election as a signifier of big reforms for the economy and for foreign policy, especially in regards to the US-Brazil relationship.
Accusations of corruption and nepotism also took center stage as both Neves and Rousseff attempted to implicate the other in recent corruption scandals. While Neves leveraged the recent Petrobras oil scandal, which involved members of Rousseff’s administration and is nicknamed the “petrolão,” Rousseff counterattacked with accusing Neves of the “mensalão” involving the PSDB, even though the original mensalão involved her own party.
The most recent polls conducted by Ibope and Datafolha, released yesterday after Tuesday’s debate (10/15), both give Neves a 2% advantage, citing voter intentions will favor Neves at 45% to Rousseff’s anticipated 43%. Many voters and analysts, however, are skeptical of these predictions because of misleading poll results released before the first round that did not accurately demonstrate Neves’ increasing popularity and Silva’s fall.
The second debate leading up the second round election runoff begins tonight at 5:45pm in Brazil (4:45pm US Eastern time) and is available via livestream at UOL.
Layne Vandenberg is a staff intern at the Brazil Institute.