Electorate hopes for a government that unites growth with inclusion, says professor

Leonardo Avritzer

Leonardo Avritzer

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. Continue reading “Electorate hopes for a government that unites growth with inclusion, says professor”

Support for Brazil president drops ahead of October vote

Paula Prada – Reuters, 3/27/2014

Popular support for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has faltered ahead of October’s presidential election, a poll showed Thursday, although she remains a favorite to win a second term.

With a sluggish economy, high inflation and a scandal surrounding Brazil’s state-run oil company, Rousseff’s personal approval rating has fallen to 51 percent from 56 percent in November, the survey by the Ibope polling institute and Brazil’s National Industry Confederation showed.

Overall support for her administration fell to 36 percent from 43 percent in the previous poll, while 27 percent of those polled disapproved of the government, compared with 20 percent in November.

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Rousseff remains favorite to win Brazil re-election

Rogerio Jelmayer – The Wall Street Journal, 2/23/2014

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff remains the favorite to win re-election in October with a comfortable lead over possible contenders, according to a poll published Sunday.

The Datafolha polling institute said Ms. Rousseff has recovered much of the support she had lost in the wake of mass street protests in the middle of last year.

Millions of Brazilians demonstrated in cities across the country of 200 million people. They had many complaints, but most were focused on perceived corruption and on the poor quality of public services, such as health care and education.

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Brazil opposition settling on presidential candidate as rival bows out

Reuters, 12/16/2013

Brazil’s main opposition party moved closer to selecting a presidential nominee on Monday, after its candidate in the last election backed Senator Aecio Neves, former governor of Minas Gerais, the country’s second-most populous state.

Jose Serra, a two-time presidential runner-up who took 44 percent of votes in the 2010 race against President Dilma Rousseff, said on his official Facebook page that the center-right PSDB should not lose time in nominating Neves.

Serra’s go-ahead clears the stage for 2014, when Neves is expected to take on Rousseff. Her popularity suffered with public protests this year, but has rebounded thanks to low unemployment and well-regarded social programs.

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Brazil’s 2014 election campaign gets off to early start

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 02/22/2013

Brazil’s 2014 election season got off to an unusually early start this week with the unofficial launch of President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election campaign by her mentor and predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Celebrating his Workers’ Party’s 10th year in power, Lula laid to rest speculation that he would run again by anointing Rousseff as the party’s best option to stay in power.

The main opposition party PSDB went on the offensive and attacked the decade of Workers’ Party (PT) rule for undoing its work in laying the basis for Brazil’s financial stability under former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

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São Paulo’s mayoral race: The big beast

The Economist – from the print edition, 03/03/2012

Jose Serra. (World Bulletin)

IT IS lucky for José Serra that in Brazil a flip-flop is just a popular item of footwear. Otherwise that is what many might call his decision, made public on February 27th, to seek his party’s nomination for mayor of São Paulo, after months of declaring that he had no interest in the job. His change of heart came just a week before a primary arranged by his Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB). Two of the four would-be candidates have now stepped aside to make way for Mr Serra, a former mayor, state governor and twice a losing presidential candidate. The vote has been delayed until March 25th to give him time to set out his stall. Though many party activists are furious at the casual treatment they have received, he is likely to win.

São Paulo is Brazil’s biggest municipality, with 11m residents, and the country’s beating business heart. Its mayor matters. But the result of this election will now be especially important. It will affect the future of the PSDB, which at federal level is the main opposition to President Dilma Rousseff. It also has implications for the governing Workers’ Party (PT) and the next presidential election, in 2014.

When the current governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, steps down in 2014, the state will have been in the PSDB’s hands for 20 years. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s former president and the PT’s powerbroker, has been plotting to end that hegemony. The plan was to win the mayoralty as a stepping stone to taking the state two years later. Lula arm-twisted the PT’s local bigwigs into dropping their preferred mayoral candidate, Marta Suplicy, a former mayor popular with poor paulistanos but loathed by better-off ones.

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