For a few days, it appeared that former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had disappeared from the campaign for re-election of his comrade and protégé, incumbent president Dilma Rousseff.
But with only five days left before the second-round run-off on October 26, he reappeared in fine form, ripping into rival candidate Aécio Neves of the centrist PSDB in a speech in Pernambuco, the only state in Brazil’s poor and politically important northeast where Dilma lost in the first round of the elections on Oct 6.
Like the country’s soap operas, Brazil’s presidential elections have been full of drama, improbable story lines and last-minute cliff hangers. Monday night was no different.
Just as Brazilians were beginning to wonder whether Aécio Neves of the centrist PSDB party could actually win this Sunday’s vote, a Datafolha poll showed President Dilma Rousseff ahead for the first time since the first round of elections on October 5. The results are still too close to call though, falling with the polling firm’s margin of error.
Brazil’s presidential election is heading for its second-round run-off on Sunday looking like the closest in a generation. As each side struggles for a breakthrough, the rhetoric is getting shrill.
Last week, it was the turn of Aécio Neves, the candidate of the pro-business opposition PSDB party, to exceed the limits of good taste. Angry over the negative campaign being run against him by his rival, the incumbent president Dilma Rousseff, he compared her rhetoric to the work of Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s minister of propaganda.
With Brazil’s 2014 election well under way, the ruling Workers’ Party is already unveiling its heavy artillery piece for the next election – Lula.
Incumbent president Dilma Rousseff, questioned whether she would assist her predecessor and mentor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva should he stand in 2018, said she “certainly would”.
Campaigning for Brazil’s election run-off has begun again and so has the madness, it seems. While there are fewer clowns and footballers vying for votes at this stage, the country’s presidential candidates are already providing plenty of entertainment.
On Thursday, it was President Dilma Rousseff’s turn. On a visit to Brazil’s poorer northeast state of Bahia, home to many black and mixed-race Brazilians, Dilma tried to win over the locals by telling them she, too, was meio pardinha – a complicated concept in Brazil but one that could roughly be translated as “a little bit black”.
The coalition of small parties behind Marina Silva are edging closer to supporting Aécio Neves of the pro-business PSDB party in the second round-run-off of Brazil’s presidential election.
The Brazilian Socialist Party, the leading party behind the candidacy of Ms Silva, who dropped out after placing third in the first round of voting on Sunday, on Wednesday became the second grouping in her coalition to say it was opting for Mr Neves.
The party said it would support Mr Neves, who placed second in the first round, on condition that “an agreement would be discussed and signed concerning policies, considering the urgency to create the necessary environment for a new cycle of development”.
What went wrong? With the close of the first round of voting in Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, the two candidates going into the second round, incumbent president Dilma Rousseff of the Worker’s party (PT) and Aécio Neves of the more market-friendly PSDB must now explain their poor performances in their home territories.
Dilma Rousseff, who started her political life in Porto Alegre, the capital of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, saw Neves win there with 39.5 per cent of the vote to her 37.6 per cent. Meanwhile Neves, who was governor of the mining state of Minas Gerais from 2003 to 2010, lost there to Dilma, by 43.8 per cent to 39.8 per cent of the vote.
Enthusiasm over Narendra Modi’s election in India and fears that Dilma Rousseff may be re-elected in Brazil have prompted a sharp reversal in the two countries’ positions among equity fund managers.
Source: Copley Fund Research
According to a report published on Monday by Copley Fund Research, which tracks the investments of 100 global EM equity funds with $280bn of assets under management, India overtook Brazil in September to become the second biggest EM after China in terms of aggregate country holdings, with $31.6bn in AUM, ahead of Brazil’s $29.6bn.
If you think you’ve had a tough week, spare a thought for Brazil’s beleaguered political consultants. As Sunday’s presidential election draws closer, they’ve come under increasing pressure from frantic investors to answer the million-dollar question: who will win?
In fact, as Bloomberg points out, it’s actually a billion-dollar question. Since President Dilma Rousseff took office at the beginning of 2011, Brazil’s benchmark stock index has plunged 23 per cent, erasing $300bn of market value.
Just as President Dilma Rousseff thought she had put a scandal affecting state-owned oil company Petrobras behind her, it has come roaring back, nastier than ever.
Paulo Roberto Costa, a former Petrobras executive accused of accepting kickbacks in return for contracts, has reportedly made a plea bargain with investigators that has got Brasília sweating.
When Brazil’s presidential election circus arrived in Rio Grande do Sul this week, it was hard not to see the difference between the styles of the two leading candidates.
Marina Silva, the upstart environmentalist who has suddenly taken the lead in the polls, staged what was almost a stealth visit. On Thursday, she arrived at Expointer 2014, a large agricultural fair on the edge of the state capital Porto Alegre, in a van ,and held tough closed-door meetings with her erstwhile adversaries in the rural sector.
Dilma Rousseff is an impressive woman. Under Brazil’s military dictatorship she was held in prison for three years, where she was beaten, tortured with electric shocks and hung upside down for long periods of time. After rebuilding her life, she was elected the first female president in Brazilian history in 2010, setting an example for generations of women to come.
However, in her first official campaign video ahead of October’s elections this week, Dilma has been reincarnated as a…housewife.
If anyone had any doubts about the political significance of the tragic plane crash that killed presidential candidate Eduardo Campos last week, they only need to see the results of Monday’s Datafolha poll.
Marina Silva, who is set to take over as candidate for the Brazilian Socialist party (PSB), attracted over twice as much support as Mr Campos did before he died and now stands a real chance of winning October’s elections.
Does Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff look for the first time like she might lose the October election?
Nomura economists Tony Volpon and George Lei think so. In a note released after a poll by research firm Ibope, they said Rousseff’s chances of losing to opposition candidate Aécio Neves were now 60 per cent. They point to figures that are among the president’s worst polling results since mass protests shook the nation last June.
For President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, the latest poll on her popularity offers from her perspective good news and bad news in equal measure.
The good news from the Pew Research Center is that 51 per cent of Brazilians view her favourably for the presidential elections in October compared with 27 per cent for Aécio Neves, the opposition candidate from the more pro-business PSDB party, and 24 per cent for her other opposition rival Eduardo Campos.
The bad news is that underneath these headline figures, there is a wealth of data showing Brazilians are becoming dissatisfied with their lot.