Gabriel Manzano – O Estado de S. Paulo, 8/4/2014
For Avritzer, the challenge of the candidates for the Planalto is to show that they can better the economy without putting social achievements at risk.
The Brazilian electorate is communicating to the candidates for Presidency two clear messages: it wants growth, but without discontinuing the enlargement of social inclusion. “The candidate that convinces the voter that it will continue to stabilize the current (economic) crisis in a manner of greater inclusion and greater increase of the job market will most likely be the one who receives the greatest support,” notes the political scientist Leonardo Avritzer, from the Federal University of Minas Gerais and president of the Brazilian Association of Political Scientists (ABCP).
His evaluation constitutes, in practice, a challenge for the three main candidates for the presidency. In short, President Dilma Rousseff (PT) valued inclusion but the country didn’t grow. Aécio Neves (PSDB) promises changes in the economy but his agenda for inclusion still is unclear. Eduardo Campos (PSB) speaks of reconciling the two halves but has not yet “sold” the message.
For this electoral scene, the impact of the economy on the polls and the social agenda are in the center of discussions of the 9th National Congress of Political Scientists, promoted from today until Thursday, in Brasilia, by the association presided over by Avritzer. The event will bring together 1,100 people in more than 800 lectures and roundtable discussions. In a conversation with O Estado, it created an intersection of the themes of the campaign with those of the meeting, which will receive scholars from Argentina, Chile, and the USA, among others. Following are the main excerpts from the interview.
The temperature of the campaign
“The temperature is hot and this is how it will stay until the end of the race. On one side, PT has 12 years of power, and this counts for something. But I am not yet convinced that the opposition has a very clear agenda for change. Aécio Neves (PSDB) has an enormous challenge, which is to attract the São Paulo electorate.”
The economic debate
“Regarding the economy, I see two situations. One of those is that of employment and of the consumption capacity of the population, which is relatively unstable. The other is the performance of the economy itself, which has been challenged by the financial market and by big businesses. That intersection will be made a large part of the race. My impression is that the electorate wants growth in a stable fashion, but in a strongly inclusive way. Whoever convinces the electorate that they will continue to stabilize the crisis in a very inclusive way and increase the job market will probably receive the most support.”
“The quality of representation is a crucial problem, but the country is not going to quit the presidential system of coalition. Whoever wins is going to have to compose – or will have to make a political reform. If President Dilma is reelected and counts on a larger proportion of PT members in Congress, the cost of this coalition tends to be less. In the case of the victory of Aécio, the PSDB starts with less and will have to negotiate more.
“Until 2010, social networks had very little influence. But the expansion of these media in Brazil has been significant. I believe that all of the candidates today are vulnerable to what circulates on the internet and cannot ignore it.”
Youth and the campaign
“In our more institutionalized forms the young population is not incorporated very well. We have research showing that the median age of those present in the participating contingencies are greater than 40 years old. The same median is given to the national conferences, which involve more than 6 million participants. They were younger, for the most part, those than protesting in the streets in 2013. I don’t see the campaigns or the candidates saying that they have their position.”
“Impunity is one of our biggest challenges. It is the idea that, in Brazil, many people do not pay for their crimes. We want to see how much weight this issue is going to have in the campaign.”
Rectification with the past
“Our democracy achieved great advances but has not yet discovered a democratic form, within the rules of the game, of settling accounts with the past. It is another essential theme.”
To see original article [in Portuguese] click here.
Translated by Erica Kliment.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Ministério da Justiça.