Election Preview: Brazil 2010
Brazil’s mega-election, which has received a fair share of attention recently, is tomorrow. While tomorrow is only the first round, it seems likely that all the important races will be determined tomorrow.
My guide to tomorrow’s election includes information on the presidential contest, key downballot races as well as information on the political parties and the country’s political history since the 1800s. Instead of repeating what has been said about the election in the guide, here’s a rundown of the key races to watch tomorrow:
The presidential contest is the big race, but it’s also one of the least interesting. Indeed, the only question which is unanswered about this race is whether Dilma Rousseff (PT), Lula’s handpicked successor, will be crowned in the first round or if she’ll need to wait a few weeks until the runoff to be crowned. However, in the last few days, Dilma’s numbers have come down some while Marina Silva and José Serra’s numbers got a slight boost. One trend noted by Ibope is that evangelicals (20% of the population) are moving away from Dilma towards Marina (an evangelical herself) and Serra after Dilma made comments which could be interpreted as being pro-choice. Marina Silva could likely get one of the best ever results for Greens in the Americas and up there with top European green showings.
Here is a rundown of other races which will be interesting to watch come election day:
Alagoas (Governor): A perfect three-way contest featuring the incumbent Governor, a former Governor and a former President/Governor. The race is too close to call and will end up in a runoff, but it remains to be seen which of the three top contenders will get the spots in the runoff.
Minas Gerais (Governor): Incumbent PSDB governor Antonio Anastasia has surged ahead of the PMDB’s Hélio Costa in recent weeks, and could win the gubernatorial contest of the second most populous state of Brazil by the first round. The race, as noted before, is a contest between the candidates of Brazil’s two most popular politicians: Lula and Governor Aécio Neves.
Paraná (Governor): Polls have showed that the race between two local heavyweights, former mayor Beto Richa (PSDB) and Senator Osmar Dias (PDT) has gotten a lot closer recently. Will Osmar Dias be able to close the gap with Beto Richa in a polarized contest which will likely be decided by the first round?
Pernambuco (Governor): In his 2006 re-election bid, Aécio Neves in MG won 77% of the vote by the first round. Can Eduardo Campus come to beat that score, a feat which would be tremendous considering that his main opponent isn’t a joke paper candidate?
The Senate has a lot of interesting contests shaping up, but one thing to look at nationally is how the parties hold up. The Democrats could be facing a rout of sorts in the Nordeste, where some of their top incumbents are at risk of losing.
Of the 54 seats up for re-election; 14 are held by the PMDB, 10 by the PSDB, 8 by the Democrats, 7 by the PT, 4 by the PDT, 3 by the PR, 2 by the PTB, 2 by the PRB, 1 by the PSOL, 1 by the PV, 1 by the PSC and 1 by the PSB.
Alagoas (Senate): A close contest between former Senator Heloísa Helena (PSOL) and deputy Benedito de Lira (PP) is shaping up, though Senator Renan Calheiros (PMDB), despite his fall from grace in the 2007 Renangate scandal, does not seem in danger of losing.
Bahia (Senate): You’ve got three main candidates fighting it out for two seats, and it’s really down to the wire. Incumbent Senator César Borges (PR) could lose outright or could fall in second place (and still win) behind either Walter Pinheiro (PT) or Lídice (PSB).
Minas Gerais (Senate): While it isn’t per se a very interesting race, the presence of two heavyweight candidates: former Governor Aécio Neves (PSDB) and former President Itamar Franco (PPS) makes this contest quite interesting. It will be interesting to watch how close the PT’s Fernando Pimentel is able to get to Itamar.
Pernambuco (Senate): The contest hasn’t received as much press as it should, given that a long-time incumbent and old conservative oligarch Marco Maciel (DEM), who is also a former Vice President, could be going down to defeat quickly against two left-wing candidates. Such a defeat would be a significant highlight in the continuing rout of the old conservative oligarchy in the region.
Rio de Janeiro (Senate): Former Rio mayor and old politico César Maia (DEM) was originally the favourite, but he has been the main victim of the PT’s Lindberg Farias late surge. He seems to be on track to lose quite badly, while Lindberg Farias could outpoll incumbent Senator Marcelo Crivella (PRB), a gospel singer and favourite of the evangelical churches.
São Paulo (Senate): Will black singer and TV host Netinho de Paula (PCdoB) outpoll former mayor Marta Suplicy (PT), or will one of them fall behind the PSDB’s Aloysio Nunes, who has gathered strength in the last days of the campaign?
The races for the Chamber of Deputies are way too plentiful for there to be rundown, but things to look out for will be which candidate garners the most votes nationwide (likely a Paulista), which incumbents lose and how the party lines evolve in the Chamber.
Brazilian elections always feature weird candidates, ranging from actual clowns to famous lookalikes to futbol stars to strippers. Such clownish candidates in 2010 include clown Tiririca (PR-SP), Obama Brasil (PTB-SP), Jeferson Camillo (PP-SP) – whose campaign ad shows him about to have sex, tough-on-crime and tough-on-yellow-ducks Delegado Waldir (PSDB-GO), stripper Mulher Melão (PHS-RJ) and gay soldier Claudio Rocha (PCdoB-RJ).