Brazil 2014

Presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and state elections were held in Brazil on October 6, 2014, with a presidential and gubernatorial runoffs on October 26, 2014.

No, this blog isn’t dead! This superbly detailed but ridiculously long post took up most of my busy time, preventing me from posting about other elections as I had wished. I hope to cover a few of the elections I have missed. I still welcome guest posts, on any topic and recent election. Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas to all readers, and warm wishes for a happy election-filled New Year 2015.

Political and electoral system

The President of Brazil, the head of state and government of Brazil, is elected directly to a four-year term, renewable once (but with the possibility to run again after leaving office). The President is elected using a two-round system, in which a second round is held three weeks later if no candidate has won an absolute majority in the first round. Presidential candidates select a running-mate, who serves as Vice President in the event of their ticket’s election.

The National Congress of Brazil (Congresso Nacional do Brasil) is a bicameral legislature composed of the 81-member Federal Senate (Senado Federal), which represents the states and the 513-member Chamber of Deputies (Câmara dos Deputados), which represents the people. In the regular legislative process, both houses have equal powers – meaning that both of them must approve a bill for it to pass, and both houses must vote to override a President’s veto on a bill. Both houses have some reserved powers – for example, the Senate must confirm some presidential appointments and holds impeachment proceedings (which are initiated by the Chamber).

The Senate is composed of 81 senators representing Brazil’s 27 constituent units – 26 states and the Federal District (DF) – with 3 senators for each constituent unit, elected to eight-year terms with no term limits. Senators are elected every four years – two-thirds of the Senate is up for election at one time when each state elects two of its senators, and one-third is up four years later when each state elects one senator. Senators are elected by first past the post.

The Chamber of Deputies has 513 members, supposed to be apportioned between the states on the basis of population, but the Constitution establishes that no state may have more than 70 deputies or less than 8 deputies. This means that there is major misrepresentation in the Chamber, with deputies in the state of São Paulo representing over 570,000 people each while the eight deputies from the smallest state, Roraima, each represent only 53,000 people. Deputies are elected in each state by open-list proportional representation. Voters may vote for a party or a candidate on a party list, with the votes cast for the party directly and all its candidates being added with the seats distributed proportionally. Most Brazilians vote for individual candidates, rather than the party list. The candidates elected are those who have won the largest number of votes for a party. The effect of this electoral system is that political parties seek to maximize their votes, and thus seat count, by running celebrity or star candidates who are able to win a large number of votes. For example, a small party which has a very popular candidate who wins a large number of votes him/herself can drag other party candidates in with him, even if they won very few votes. In 2002, for instance, a small party run by a charismatic and popular leader had their leading poll over 1.5 million votes and therefore elected six seats – including four candidates who had won less than 1,000 votes!

Brazil is a federal state divided into 26 states and one Federal District. The states have power over matters not explicitly forbidden to them in the Constitution. Each state and the DF has a directly-elected Governor, who serves a four-year term renewable once. The Governor, elected on a ticket with a Vice Governor, is elected using a two-round system. The legislative power of each state is vested in a Legislative Assembly (Assembleia Legislativa), with the number of deputies in each state set according to a formula in the Constitution (Article 27). The largest state, São Paulo, elects 94 state deputies; the smallest states have 24 state deputies. Deputies in Legislative Assemblies are known as deputados estaduais (state deputies) or, in the DF, deputados distritais (district deputies) to differentiate them from members of the Chamber of Deputies, who are deputados federais (federal deputies). The DF’s government is organized like a state government, with an elected Governor and state legislature, but the DF has no state constitution and it has the powers of a state and a municipality.

Brazil has a strong and independent judiciary. The Supreme Federal Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) is the court of last resort with responsibility over constitutional law. It has 11 judges (called ‘ministers’) appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The 33-member Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça, STJ) is the highest appellate court for all non-constitutional questions of federal law. Courts have decided on a number of important issues in recent years, including same-sex marriage, but also on electoral matters including the Ficha Limpa law (Clean Slate Law), which renders ineligible for 8 years any candidate whose mandate was revoked, resigned office to escape impeachment or who was convicted by a collective body (the STF ruled in 2011 that the law could not apply to the 2010 elections and ruled it constitutional for future elections in 2012).

Registration and voting is compulsory for all citizens between 18 and 70, excepting the illiterate; registration and voting is voluntary for voters aged 16 to 18 and those over 70. Compulsory voting is enforced, with voters who did not vote being forced to provide adequate justification for not voting within 60 days after the election, or else they are fined. Candidates for any elected office must be registered with a political party (they may not run as an independent), and all candidates for office receive free airtime on radio and TV. While candidates in second rounds have equal airtime, the duration of each candidate’s airtime in the first round is determined by the size and weight of the parties in a candidate’s coalition – meaning that there exists a real incentive for candidates to be supported by a large number of parties, even small ones, in order to increase their airtime.

In order to run for another office, the President, cabinet ministers, governors and mayors must resign from their respective offices at least six months before the election. An incumbent seeking reelection to the same office, however, does not resign, which has sometimes raised questions about incumbents using the advantages of their office and state resources to campaign for reelection.

Although Brazilian political parties play an important role in the political process, many parties in Brazil have little formal ideologies or coherent principles, and function as patronage machines seeking power with little interest in the general ideological direction of the government. Because of legal regulations on free airtime or the number of candidates allowed to run, larger parties have an interest in contracting electoral coalitions with smaller parties – oftentimes the smaller parties are the most venal and corrupt parties – for strategic electoral purposes. Many of these small parties which form coalitions with one another are known as ‘rental parties’ or ‘parties for hire’ (partido de aluguel) meaning that they will sell themselves to the highest bidder when election season rolls around. In return, these ‘parties for hire’ can win seats in Congress and, as it gets a substantial number of seats, its bidding power on the government increases and it gains access to the spoils of power (lucrative posts in public institutions and agencies, government contracts, public works in their state). The harsh and unpleasant reality of Brazilian party politics means that it is very difficult for a politician to be elected to high office without making strategic alliances with these powerful patronage parties.

There are, of course, parties with more coherent ideologies and politicians with principles – although these parties and politicians are forced to deal with the venal parties if they want to get anywhere.

Historical background

In the 2010 elections, Dilma Rousseff was elected President of Brazil as the anointed successor of popular two-term outgoing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), first elected to office in 2002.

Lula was a left-wing trade unionist, who grew up poor in Brazil’s impoverished Nordeste (Northeast) before moving, like many Northeasterners, to São Paulo – Brazil’s economic powerhouse – to work in the factories in São Paulo’s industrial suburbs. He rose through the ranks of the steel workers’ trade unions in São Bernardo do Campo due to his leadership skills and charisma, and gained national prominence due to his leadership in large strikes in favour of workers’ rights during the military dictatorship in Brazil (1964-1985). In 1980, Lula led the foundation of the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT), a socialist party founded by independent left-wing trade unionists, left-wing intellectuals and Catholics influenced by Liberation Theology and, in 1983, he participated in the foundation of the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT), a trade union confederation which broke with the corporatist system of labour relations instituted by President Getúlio Vargas (1930-1945, 1951-1954) and practiced by the old varguista Brazilian Labour Party (PTB). The PT became one of the smaller parties which opposed the military regime in its waning years and supported democratization, notably the large-scale Diretas Já campaign for direct presidential elections in 1984. Between 1989 and 2002, Lula lost three successive presidential elections.

After having been ruled by the military since a 1964 coup, Brazil’s transition to democracy was negotiated and controlled by the military regime, beginning with General Ernesto Geisel (President, 1974-1979) policy of distensão, or political opening. Geisel’s successor, General João Figueiredo (1979-1985), decreed a general amnesty in 1979, passed a political reform which ended the rigid two-party system imposed by the military’s Ato Institucional Dos in 1965 (allowing for the registration of parties such as the PT) and allowed for the direct election of state governors in 1982 (the first direct elections of governors since the 1960s, after the regime abolished direct elections of governors in 1966 through AI-3). However, Figueiredo struggled to retain control of the transition process, facing strong pressure from a united and energized opposition movement (led by the Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, or PMDB, the successor to the MDB, the sole tolerated legal opposition party to the regime) and reactionary opposition from military intelligence hardliners (linha dura). The Democratic Social Party (PDS), the pro-military party, split over the choice of a presidential successor ahead of the 1984 elections (which would still be indirect, through an electoral college dominated by the PDS, after the failure of the Diretas Já‘s campaign to amend the constitution for immediate direct elections). The PDS nominated Paulo Maluf, the infamously corrupt former ‘bionic’ mayor and governor of São Paulo; a choice which was immediately rejected by Maluf’s opponents including Vice President Aureliano Chaves, former Pernambuco governor Marco Maciel, the very powerful Bahian political boss Antônio Carlos Magalhães (ACM) and Maranhão senator José Sarney. Chaves, ACM and Marco Maciel participated in the foundation of the Liberal Front Party (Partido da Frente Liberal, PFL) and endorsed the opposition candidacy of Tancredo Neves, a veteran moderate opposition politician (who had served under the presidency of Getúlio Vargas and as Prime Minister under João Goulart prior to the 1964 coup) who was spearheading the movement for democratization in Brazil. José Sarney joined the PMDB and was Tancredo Neves’ running-mate, thus forming a broad coalition allying long-time opponents of the regime with defectors from the pro-regime party. Tancredo Neves was elected President by the electoral college, but he was rushed to the hospital on the eve of his inauguration and he died after seven surgical operations a bit over a month later. To allow for a smooth transition, it was agreed that Sarney would be allowed to become President, despite Tancredo never having been inaugurated formally.

Sarney’s government faced, besides the management of the transition and the adoption of the Constitution, hyperinflation. Sarney’s first response, the Cruzado Plan – which included a price and wage freeze, a new currency and a ‘wage trigger’ to automatically adjust wages when inflation reached 20% – was initially very popular, leading to an explosion of consumption and a massive victory for the PMDB in the 1986 elections, but ultimately failed because the price freeze distorted the profit margins of companies, leading to disinvestment and declining production and resulting in a serious supply crisis. The government ran through two other plans to tackle hyperinflation, but both failed. When Sarney left office, he was highly unpopular, seen as corrupt and unable to handle the economy. Nevertheless, Sarney did oversee the adoption of the 1988 Constitution and the restoration of democracy – with universal suffrage, civil and political liberties.

In 1989, the first direct presidential election since the 1964 military coup, Lula placed second in the first round with 16.1% and went on to face Fernando Collor de Mello, a young and suave populist-conservative governor of Alagoas (a small state in the Nordeste) who ran a very anti-Sarney campaign. In a dirty runoff campaign in which Collor was openly favoured by the powerful Globo media empire, Lula’s image as an angry radical worried conservative voters throughout the country and he was ultimately defeated by Collor, 49.4% to 44.2%. Collor took office as Brazil was facing hyperinflation. Collor quickly adopted drastic measures to fight inflation by aiming to sharply cut the amount of money in circulation. His Plano Collor included the introduction of (yet another) new currency, an 18-month freeze in all overnight deposits over US$1,300, a tax on financial transactions (stock shares, gold and financial titles), a price and wage freeze, an increase in utility prices, the dismissal of 360,000 public employees, exchange rate liberalization, elimination of tax incentives, abolition of several government institutes and Collor’s government promised wide-reaching neoliberal reforms to the economy including privatization and deregulation. Inflation did fall from 2947% in 1990 to 477% in 1991, but the Plano Collor’s initial success proved fleeting and inflation shot up again – to 1022% in 1992. In 1991 and 1992, Collor’s government was hit by an avalanche of revelations which showed that PC Farias, Collor’s sketchy campaign treasurer, was running a huge corruption scheme and embezzling millions in public monies by manipulating public contracts. In late September 1992, the Chamber achieved more than the two-thirds majority required to suspend Collor from office and Collor resigned at the end of the year hours before the Senate voted on his removal from office – which it ended up doing anyway.

His Vice President, Itamar Franco – a rather odd and erratic personality – needed to deal with the crisis of hyperinflation. Facing a real social and economic crisis, with inflation roaring at over 2075% in 1994, Itamar turned, in May 1993, to Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a prominent academic and sociologist exiled during most of the military regime. FHC took a gamble and presented an ambitious plan with the potential for high rewards but huge risks: the Plano Real. His plan cut public spending (by forcing Congress to kill its pork-barreling habits), increased tax collection, cracked down on tax evasion, required heavily indebted states to pay off their debts to the federal government and introduced the Unidade Real de Valor, a non-monetary reference currency (mandatory conversion of values) designed to break the psychological inertia of Brazilian inflation and ease the transition to the introduction of the Brazilian real on July 1, 1994. The Plano Real was a real success – inflation dropped from 46.6% to 6.1% between June and July 1994 (the introduction of the real), and inflation in 1995 fell to 66% and 16% in 1996. FHC, backed by powerful conservative bosses, announced his presidential candidacy in March 1994 and, after July, rode on the successful introduction of the new currency. In October, FHC was elected by the first round with 54.3% against 27% for Lula, who had been the initial favourite since the fallout from the Collor crisis.

FHC was a member of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, PSDB), a party which he had helped create in 1988. The PSDB was founded by progressive reformist dissidents of the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) which had, under Sarney’s presidency, taken the form of an ideologically incoherent patronage-based alliance of regional political bosses. The PSDB’s founders included, besides FHC, Mário Covas, Franco Montoro and former student opposition leader José Serra. In 1989, the PSDB supported Lula in the second round over Collor and the party – especially Mário Covas – were opponents of Collor’s government before it was cool. FHC’s 1994 candidacy was made possible through the support of the PFL, particularly ACM, who provided FHC with his Vice President, Marco Maciel.

In office, Cardoso’s government maintained a strict macroeconomic policy aimed at ensuring the long-term success of the Plano Real and Brazil’s economic recovery. His government promoted privatizations of various state-owned companies (notably Telebrás, the state-owned monopoly telecom company); liberalized the energy sector with a 1997 law which broke Petrobras’ monopoly on exploration, production, refining and transportation of oil by allowing concessions of ‘well to wheel’ activities to private Brazilian companies (a model for the recent reform to Mexico’s public energy monopoly) and passed a fiscal responsibility law to impose controls on states and municipalities’ spending. The government’s HIV/AIDS policy, which encouraged production of generic drugs, was very successful and prevented an AIDS pandemic similar to that in South Africa. In 1997, Congress approved a constitutional amendment allowing for the immediate reelection of the President, governors and mayors – an amendment which allowed Cardoso to run for a second term in office in 1998, which he handily won by the first round, once again defeating Lula. There have been allegations that the government bribed congressmen to approve the reelection amendment.

In his second term, FHC faced a far more difficult economic situation. Brazil’s growing but fragile economy was hit by the successive regional and global economic crises of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and structural problems in the Plano Real – such as deflationary monetary policies and an overvalued semi-fixed exchange rate – worsened the problems. The economic crises in Mexico, Russia and Asia during this period caused sharp drops in prices of commodities exported by Brazil and outflows of capital. In 1999, the Central Bank devalued the real and the government later decided to float the currency. The economic effect of the devaluation was less negative than originally expected, and the economy grew by 4% in 2001. However, the government’s popularity was hurt by power cuts in 2001-2002, the result of a lack of investments in electrical infrastructure in the past 10 years. FHC left office having presided over a welcome period of political and economic stability in Brazil. While his legacy is somewhat controversial, with his opponents on the left considering him a neoliberal (an inaccurate label – FHC is far closer, ideologically, to the centrist Third Way promoted in the late 1990s by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton) while his supporters claim that he laid the bases for Brazil’s good economic performance in the 2000s under Lula.

Lula’s fourth presidential candidacy was his successful one. His 2002 victory, with 61.3% in the runoff against FHC’s health minister José Serra, was the result of a calculated ideological moderation in the PT and the creation of a more appealing personal image for the candidate. Lula contracted the services of Duda Mendonça, a famous advertising guru and political strategist who had managed to elect Paulo Maluf as mayor of São Paulo in 1992; Lula became ‘Lula peace and love’, a consensual and moderate candidate very different from the angry bearded union radical of 1989; Lula’s PT allied with some of the ‘for hire’ small parties – his running-mate was senator José Alencar, an evangelical Christian textile businessman  from the small centre-right Liberal Party (PL) and Lula pledged not to nationalize companies or default on Brazil’s foreign debt (two of his ‘scariest’ promises from 1989). Upon his victory, Lula promptly moved to allay the fears of investors by appointing an orthodox economist, Henrique Meirelles, as President of the Central Bank and another moderate, Antonio Palocci, as his Minister of Finance.

Lula pursued a conservative fiscal and monetary policy during his two terms in office. The Central Bank, which enjoyed wide autonomy, followed a strict inflation targeting policy which aimed – successfully – at keep inflation within a narrow band with a target of 4.5% in place since 2003. When Lula took office, inflation had been quite high – over 12.5% in 2002 and 9.3% in 2003 – but, in every subsequent year until he left office, Brazilian inflation was kept within the Central Bank’s bands (real inflation during Lula’s term fell between 7.6% and 3.1%). The Brazilian economy enjoyed strong growth rates during his term in office, at an average of 4% GDP growth per year between 2003 and 2010 – a higher average growth rate than under his predecessor’s two terms in power. Brazil weathered the 2008-9 global recession far better than most other G20 powers, with a small recession of 0.3% in 2009 but record growth of 7.5% in 2010. Lula’s terms in office also saw a significant decline in the unemployment rate, which fell from 12% when Lula took office in 2003 to 6.7% in 2010; with the Ministry of Labour reporting the creation of over 15 million jobs during his eight years in power, not considering layoffs – although job creation was erratic in the first term. Brazil’s public debt, which had increased significantly under FHC’s second term (79% in 2003), was reduced under Lula’s presidency, falling to 65% of GDP in 2010. The government and the Central Bank stuck to IMF commitments in achieving a ‘primary fiscal surplus’ and stuck to Cardoso’s anti-inflationary fiscal responsibility law. Brazil’s export economy performed well under Lula, thanks to increased exports of natural resources and agriculture (soybeans) and a great diversification of Brazil’s export partners which reduced Brazil’s traditional dependence on US and EU markets. In a change of course from his past anti-globalization rhetoric, the Lula administration worked within the WTO and became an active player in trade disputes – notably against EU and US agricultural and sugar subsidies.

Although the Central Bank’s strict deflationary policy and high interest rates were criticized, Brazilian interest rates declined gradually during Lula’s presidency. The government’s orthodox and conservative economic policies displeased many leftist members of the PT, but were praised by investors. Critics attacked the government for insufficient investments in infrastructure, healthcare and education. To the PT’s base, however, the drop in the price of food and the rise in the minimum wage were real tangible achievements.

By far, the most successful and popular aspect of Lula’s presidency was the significant reduction in poverty and income inequality in one of the world’s most unequal countries. Upon taking office, Lula introduced a strategy to combat malnutrition: Fome Zero (Zero Hunger), whose initiatives ranged from creation of ‘people’s restaurants’, expanding access to microcredit, creation of cisterns in the Nordeste’s sertão, food banks to hold supplies, direct support for family agriculture. The efficiency of Fome Zero was soon brought into question, with claims that it was badly administered and not reaching enough people. In 2004, the program was effectively replaced by what has become the government’s biggest lasting achievement – Bolsa Familía. The program replaced FHC’s Bolsa Escola, a conditional cash transfer for poor families with children attending school. Bolsa Familía is a conditional cash transfer program to poor and very poor families granted on condition that children/dependents are attending school and vaccinated. The program currently serves about 14 million families, who receive an average of R$149.46 per month. Some critics of Bolsa Familía have claimed that the program ignores the quality of education and promotes welfare dependency rather than job creation, while other critics have charged that it is a clientelist program aimed at buying poor voters’ support. However, the program has generally received praise and international interest, including from the World Bank (which has debunked a number of myths about the program’s effects on dependency), and has contributed to the significant reduction in poverty and income inequality in Brazil. In 2003, 43% of Brazilians lived on less than $4 a day. In 2011, that number had fallen to 24%. While Brazil remains one of the world’s most unequal countries, the Gini coefficient has fallen from about 0.59 when Lula took office to 0.53 in 2011. Income inequality and poverty had remained high, with little change, under Brazil’s previous democratic presidents – including under FHC’s two terms.

Lula’s government took steps to confront racial inequalities (a longtime taboo subject in a country founded in good part on the myth of ‘racial democracy’), cracked down on slave labour in remote regions of the Amazon and Nordeste (over 32,000 people were freed from slave labour under Lula’s presidency), supported a rural electrification project, supported family agriculture and PT supporters pointed out that Lula distributed more land to landless peasants than his predecessor did. Brazil’s education system continues to be ranked near the very bottom in PISA rankings, despite real efforts by Lula’s government to improve educational outcomes. His government created ProUni to grant full or partial scholarships to low-income students and created 11 federal universities. On environmental issues, the government’s record was shoddier – Lula constantly tried (and struggled) to straddle both sides of the dispute, being sensitive both to environmentalists’ demands for conservation of the Amazon rainforest, and the importance of agribusiness to the economy. Marina Silva, Lula’s environment minister, faced constant hostility from other sectors of the government as she sought to limit deforestation and environmentally-destructive development, until she resigned from cabinet in 2008.

Lula’s government saw Brazil adopt a much more active foreign policy, breaking with a certain passivity in the past administrations, and Lula put much personal energy and time during his two terms in foreign state visits and hosting foreign leaders. His foreign policy aimed to open more markets for Brazilian exports, deepen ties with other major developing states through BRICS (Russia, India, China and South Africa), promote South American integration, rebuild the Mercosul and boosting Brazil’s weight in international organizations such as the UN (Brazil was a major contributor to the UN mission in Haiti) in the hopes of gaining a permanent seat for Brazil on the UNSC. Lula’s relations with the US, under the George W. Bush administration, were not as friendly as they had been under Cardoso (who had gotten along well with Clinton) – Brazil opposed Bush’s FTAA idea, strongly opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Brasília took some stances at odds with American foreign policy (on issues such as Iran, Israel-Palestine). Lula, as one of the key left-wing leaders elected in Latin America’s ‘Pink Wave’ in the 2000s, was friendly to Hugo Chávez and other left-wing regional leaders. But Brazil’s economic and strategic interests in some of these countries – particularly Bolivia and Paraguay – were at odds with the rhetoric of left-wing leaders in those countries (like Bolivia, where Petrobras had $3.5 billion investments when Evo Morales nationalized oil and gas). Lula’s policy with regards to Iran, Cuba and China was criticized by the opposition.

To win and maintain power in Brazil, politicians require to forge broad coalitions inevitably including slimy politicians and venal parties which represent vested interests and/or demand tangible benefits in exchange for their support. Lula’s 2002 coalition included the PT and Alencar’s PL and other small left-wing parties such as the Brazilian Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro, PSB) – founded in 1985 and later joined by Miguel Arraes, a three-time left-wing governor of Pernambuco (first elected in 1962 in the then-conservative northeastern state, with Communist support, his government forced sugar mill and plantation owners to pay their employees minimum wage and he supported the creation of unions and peasants’ organizations); the Communist Party of Brazil (Partido Comunista do Brasil, PCdoB) – based on the 1962 faction which supported Maoism (later Hoxhaist after 1976, although ironically its Hoxhaist shift coincided with political moderation) and opposed ‘revisionism’ and was famous for bogging down the military regime for years in the Araguaia guerrilla (1969-1976); and the Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro, PCB) – the PCdoB’s rival, disputing the legacy of the original Communist Party (founded in 1922) but marginalized by refusing the armed struggle during the military regime, the rise of non-communist trade unionism and later the fall of the Wall (the remaining PCB is now a hardcore left-wing party and abandoned the Lula coalition by 2006). However, Lula needed to seek the support of other parties to gain a congressional majority, meaning that he became reliant on the backing of fickle, venal parties – parts of the PMDB (which had officially backed Serra in 2002), the Progressive Party (Partido Progressista, PP – actually Paulo Maluf’s party and the descendant of the most conservative factions of the old military party, ARENA/PDS) and the Brazilian Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro, PTB – the 1979 refoundation of Getúlio Vargas’ old corporatist workers’ party, and now a slimy ‘party for hire’ which has backed every government since Figueiredo). Some critics of the government claimed that Lula’s social policies only aimed at cosmetic amelioration rather than real changes, stemming from his unwillingness to challenge vested interests (which included the PT’s base in organized labour).

Shortly after taking office, the magazine Época showed that an advisor to José Dirceu (a loyal PT veteran), the then-Minister of the Casa Civil (Chief of Staff) and Lula’s éminence grise, had attempted to extort money for the PT from the sketchy boss of an illegal gambling game (jogo de bicho), Carlinhos Cachoeira. Lula rejected Dirceu’s offer to resign.

A far bigger scandal began in May 2005, when the opposition-aligned news magazine Veja released a video showing the boss of the state postal service negotiating a bribe. As part of the coalition agreement, the boss of the state postal service was nominated by the PTB’s federal deputy Roberto Jefferson, which intended to use control of that agency to milk money out of it. Feeling the pressure, Jefferson, in June 2005, decided to drop a bomb by alleging that the PT, coordinated by Dirceu and other PT apparatchiks, was paying a ‘monthly salaries’ (mensalão) to federal deputies (mostly from the PL, PP, PTB and PMDB) in exchange for their support. According to Jefferson, the elaborate vote-buying scheme (which was, however, not a novel idea in Brazilian politics) was coordinated by José Dirceu, administered by Delúbio Soares (the PT’s treasurer) and the money was handled by Marcos Valério (a PR/advertising businessman who received the money, by diverting resources from ad contracts, private bank loans or milking cash from telecom companies).

Jefferson was later impeached and stripped of his mandate and political rights for 8 years, but the scandal became one of the biggest corruption scandals in modern Brazilian democracy and had a grave impact on Lula’s government. The government and the PT initially denied all allegations, and tried to prevent the formation of a parliamentary commission of inquiry (CPI) and later, when proof added up, accused Delúbio Soares and Marcos Valério of negotiating loans without the knowledge of the PT leadership, or spinning the scandal as a mere (‘normal’) case of an illegal parallel campaign fund. The PT also tried to paint the opposition parties as hypocritical, pointing out similar vote buying cases involving PSDB politicians (notably the illegal financing, by similar means and with the help of Marcos Valério, of the 1998 reelection campaign of the PSDB governor of Minas Gerais Eduardo Azeredo) and accepted a CPI into the mensalão after extending its mandate to cover vote-buying allegations against the Cardoso administration for the re-election amendment. José Dirceu, however, resigned as Chief of Staff in June 2005 and was stripped of his mandate as federal deputy in December 2005. In July 2005, José Genoíno – a PT deputy and the president of the PT – resigned the party presidency after an aide was arrested with R$200,000 in a bag and $100,000 in underpants; later that month, Delúbio Soares, who had also resigned his party position, was expelled from the PT after taking full responsibility for illegal parallel campaign funds used for the PT’s electoral campaigns. Duda Mendonça, the political marketing guru, told a CPI that the PT had paid him for his services through an offshore account in the Bahamas. The finance minister, Antonio Palocci, was accused of receiving monthly payments from businessmen when he was mayor of Ribeirão Preto (SP). In August, Lula asked the Brazilian people for forgiveness and said that he felt betrayed – there is no definitive proof that Lula knew anything of the bribes being paid by his party to his congressional allies.

The revelation of the mensalão unleashed a wave of public attention into other cases of congressional greed and political corruption. In September, the PP president of the Chamber, Severino Cavalcanti – a corrupt personage whose appeal was based on lobbying for backbenchers’ spoils and privileges – was forced to resign the presidency of the Chamber for taking bribes from a restaurant owner in the Congress building. Cavalcanti, when he was elected to the Chamber’s presidency in February 2005 (replacing PT deputy João Paulo Cunha, accused of participating in the mensalão), had been a dissident from the government benches and beaten a PT deputy backed by the presidency, but by September he had become an ally of the PT in the mensalão scandal in return for a few goodies. He was replaced by PCdoB deputy Aldo Rebelo.

The scandals severely damaged the PT’s reputation, breaking its old (pre-power) reputation as an honest party fighting for less corrupt politics in Brazil. However, by early 2006, the scandal was running out of steam despite attempts by the PT’s opponents to keep it alive. Some other scandals hurt the government in 2006 and in its second term. In March 2006, Palocci was forced to resign after a buildup of reports of financial misbehaviour while he was mayor, that he had received illegal gambling money and that he leaked the bank records of a concierge who told the press about Palocci’s presence at parties organized by associates. Other scandals included a long-running scheme, tolerated by the health ministry, where deputies from small parties took commissions when mayors bought overpriced ambulances; the arrest of PT operatives very close to Lula attempting to illegally purchase an incriminating dossier against José Serra in the 2006 election; an expense scandal involving misuse of corporate credit cards by ministers or the participation of the son of Lula’s Chief of Staff in an influence peddling scheme in September 2010.

The corruption scandals during Lula’s term exposed the business behind Brazilian politics and governing. Deputies, for electoral and political purposes, seek access to pork or access to the spoils. A vast spoils system operates at the top of Brazilian politics – politicians from coalition partners are able to appoint the heads of public agencies or corporations or get their own ministerial portfolios, and proceed to milk the money out of those jobs by receiving contributions from appointed bureaucrats, rigging public tenders and controlling patronage. The mensalão scandal started with such a scheme – as part of the business transaction between the government and the PTB, the PTB appointed the head of the postal service, who was in turn expected to pay monthly bribes to the PTB. José Dirceu, a ‘prime minister’/Rasputin-like éminence grise in Lula’s first administration, was the man responsible for handing out appointments to the PT’s slimy allies. However, despite the intense corruption, Brazilian institutions worked – the government took real steps to increase transparency, independent law enforcement agencies (the federal police, the independent Prosecutor General of the Republic) and the courts did their jobs freely and Brazilian campaign finance legislation is tougher and more transparent than similar legislation in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. Brazilian candidates for all offices must publicly disclose all of their assets to the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the body which administers elections.

Lula was reelected in October 2006. The mess of the mensalão had faded in the minds of most voters, and Lula’s base rewarded him for his social policies. Lula was officially supported by the PT, the PCdoB and the new Brazilian Republican Party (Partido Republicano Brasileiro, PRB), founded by PL dissidents (including Vice President José Alencar) and considered by some as the ‘political arm’ of the evangelical neo-Pentecostal Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), the third-largest evangelical denomination in Brazil and one of the most powerful and controversial evangelical churches (the UCKG is one of the richest religious denominations, owns several media sources, built a humongous replica of the Temple of Solomon in São Paulo and its leader bishop Edir Macedo is a billionaire). He received unofficial backing from the PL, the PSB and most of the PMDB.

His main opponent was the PSDB governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin. Alckmin’s political mentor was Mário Covas, one of the PSDB’s founding members, and he was elected vice-governor of the state of São Paulo as Mário Covas’ running-mate in 1994 (and reelected in 1998). He assumed office as governor in March 2001, after Covas died.  Alckmin was reelected governor in 2002, winning 58.6% in the runoff against José Genoino (PT). Paulo Maluf (PP), the early favourite, was defeated in the first round. After a successful term as governor, Alckmin imposed himself as the PSDB’s presidential candidate over rival claims. Fairly uncharismatic and introverted – he was nicknamed chuchu (a bland green vegetable) – he had trouble taking off. Alckmin’s candidacy was supported by the three main opposition parties: the PSDB, the PFL (which would rename itself ‘Democrats’ or Democratas in 2007 in a bid to modernize its image, as a right-wing liberal party rather than a bunch of old conservative coronels from the Nordeste) and the Popular Socialist Party (Partido Popular Socialista, PPS). The PPS was actually founded in 1992 by reformist dissidents of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB), led by Roberto Freire, mimicking the transformation of the Italian PCI into the social democratic PDS (and, like in Italy, a small hardline minority remained communists, in Brazil being led by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer). The PPS opposed FHC’s two governments – supporting Lula in 1994, and then running its own candidate – Ciro Gomes, a former governor of Ceará (1991-1994) and PSDB finance minister (1994-1995), in 1998 and 2002 (11% and 12% respectively), although Gomes (who had become Minister of National Integration in Lula’s cabinet) left the PPS to join the PSB when the PPS left the governing coalition in 2003.

Lula also faced candidacies from two PT dissidents. Heloísa Helena, an outspoken Alagoas senator from the PT’s left, had broken with the PT in 2003 due to major disagreements with the conservative direction of Lula’s economic policies and his opportunistic alliances with corrupt parties. Expelled from the PT in December 2003, she was one of the founding members of the Socialism and Freedom Party (Partido Socialismo e Liberdade, PSOL). Senator Cristovam Buarque, a former PT governor of the DF (1995-1999) and education minister (2003-2004), who left the PT in 2004, ran for the Democratic Labour Party (Partido Democrático Trabalhista, PDT). The PDT was founded in 1979, led by veteran leftist politician Leonel Brizola (the brother-in-law of deposed President João Goulart), who as PTB governor of Rio Grande do Sul (1959-1963) and federal deputy for Guanabara (1963-1964) was one of the main players in the highly-charged political debates which led up to the 1964 coup, pressuring Goulart to speed up controversial left-wing reforms including agrarian reforms and regulation of profit remittances by foreign corporations. In exile during the military regime, Brizola returned to Brazil with the amnesty in 1979 and created the PDT after losing the rights to the name PTB to Ivete Vargas, Getúlio Vargas’ grand-niece. In 1989, Brizola placed a close third in the first round of the presidential election (15.5% to Lula’s 16.1%). Brizola and brizolismo remained very powerful in the state of Rio de Janeiro, where he served as governor between 1983 and 1987 and again between 1991 and 1994. Brizola died in 2004. The PSOL and PDT both welcomed dissidents from the PT, as did the smaller Green Party (Partido Verde, PV).

In the first round, Lula won 48.6% against 41.6% for Alckmin, with Heloísa Helena winning 6.9% and Cristovam Buarque receiving only 2.6%. Lula had been widely expected to be reelected by the first round, but suffered from a late swing against him because of the backlash against the PT’s dirty tricks in the fake dossier against José Serra (the PSDB’s candidate for governor of São Paulo) and Lula’s refusal to participate in televised debates against his opponents. Alckmin, on the other hand, finished strong. However, Lula seized the initiative in the runoff campaign and claimed that Alckmin would privatize state-owned corporations and dismantle the Bolsa Familía (largely false accusations, besides the PSDB’s campaign focused on hitting the PT and Lula for corruption). Alckmin was unable to build on his first round result, and the runoff ended up as a Lula blowout: 60.8% to 39.2% for Alckmin, who lost votes from the first round.

Interestingly, the 2006 election was the realigning election in terms of voting patterns and the main coalitions/parties’ bases of support. Whereas in 2002, ‘Lula peace and love’ had fairly evenly distributed support throughout all regions and demographic groups, the 2006 election showed a much more polarized map and electorate. Lula swept the Nordeste with 77% (61.5% in 2002), Brazil’s poorest (and blackest/brownest) region, thanks to massive swings in his favour in the rural regions (particularly the arid and inhospitable sertão, home to the infamous latifúndios) – traditionally under the grip of conservative barons – where poor voters benefited from federal spending and Lula’s social programs. The success of the Lula coalition in the Nordeste has also had repercussions at the congressional and state level, where the PFL/DEM have suffered significant loses in their old regional base. On the other hand, Alckmin won the state of São Paulo and the South, the wealthiest (and whitest) regions of the country. Alckmin won 52.3% in São Paulo (state), which has always been fairly conservative despite being the PT’s cradle, and 53.5% in the South region; in 2002, Lula had won 55.4% in São Paulo and 58.8% in the South. In 2006, there was a clear polarization of voting patterns, with wealth, education and race (to a lesser extent) becoming the key variables. In past elections, such as 1989, there had been similar left-right polarization, but around different variables – in 1989, the main cleavage between Lula and Collor, for example, had been rural-urban.

The PMDB replaced the PT as the largest party in the Chamber of Deputies, while the opposition PSDB and PFL/DEM ranked as the third and fourth largest parties respectively. Paulo Maluf, who was himself elected federal deputy with the highest vote count of any candidate in the country, saw his party, the PP, win 42 seats. The PSB, PDT, PTB, PL, PPS, PV and PCdoB all won over 10 seats in the Chamber. In Amapá, former president José Sarney (PMDB) was reelected to the Senate, where he had been a key backer of the Lula government. In Alagoas, former president Fernando Collor was elected to the Senate for the tiny Partido Renovador Trabalhista Brasileiro (PRTB), although he jumped ship to the PTB within days.

In gubernatorial races, José Serra (PSDB) was elected governor of São Paulo in the first round, taking 57.9% against 31.7% for PT senator Aloizio Mercadante. Mercadante’s campaign, already in poor shape, was killed off by the PT’s fake dossier scandal. In Minas Gerais, popular PSDB governor Aécio Neves, the grandson of Tancredo Neves, was reelected with a huge 77% of the votes against the PT – all while Lula defeated Alckmin in the state, indicating a very strong ‘Lula-Aécio’ vote-splitting campaign, which Aécio tolerated much to the national PSDB’s displeasure. In Rio Grande do Sul, the PT’s Olivío Dutra – one of the party’s founders and the first PT mayor of Porto Alegre (1989-1992) – was unable to regain the office he lost in 2002, losing in the second round to Yeda Crusius (PSDB). In Rio de Janeiro, PMDB senator Sérgio Cabral was easily elected in the second round against right-wing candidate Denise Frossard (PPS). At the time, Cabral was supported by former governor Anthony Garotinho (a party-hopper, who was also PMDB back then) and his wife, outgoing governor Rosinha Garotinho. Garotinho, an evangelical Christian and former ally of Leonel Brizola, is a classic (but clownish) populist who is popular with poorer voters because of his pro-poor policies (meals and hotel nights at the symbolic price of R$1) but disliked by others for his thinly-veiled religious proselytizing and corruption (vote buying, illegal campaign funding). Garotinho, then in the PSB, had run for President in 2002 and placed third with 18% thanks to strong evangelical support. He had unsuccessfully tried to receive the PMDB’s nomination for President in 2006, but a short-lived ‘electoral verticalization’ rule in place at the time which forced parties to have the same alliances at all levels led the PMDB to remain neutral to retain its state-by-state alliances. Although Garotinho had (controversially) endorsed Alckmin in the runoff, Lula supported Cabral.

In Pernambuco, Eduardo Campos (PSB), the grandson of Miguel Arraes and the Minister of Science and Technology (2004-2005), was elected governor in the second round, winning 65.4% against 34.6% for incumbent governor Mendonça Filho (PFL), who had replaced powerful right-wing governor Jarbas Vasconcelos (PMDB) in March 2006. In the first round, the PT’s favourite – health minister Humberto Costa (who had been defeated by Jarbas Vasconcelos in 2002), was defeated, placing a close third. In Maranhão, Roseana Sarney (PFL but pro-Lula) – José Sarney’s daughter – was narrowly defeated in the second round by Jackson Lago (PDT), 48.2% to 51.8%, marking one of the first defeats of the Sarney clan in its own backyard in some 40 years. However, since Lago was soon embroiled in a corruption sting by the federal police, the TSE invalidated all votes cast in his favour in 2009 and Roseana Sarney was proclaimed elected in his stead. In Bahia, the hitherto hegemonic ‘carlist’ machine of ACM (which had ruled without interruption since 1989) suffered an historic – and unexpected – defeat when Jaques Wagner (PT), who had been minister of institutional relations under Lula, defeated incumbent governor Paulo Souto (PFL) in the first round (52.9% to 43%; Souto had led in all polls). In Ceará, incumbent governor Lúcio Alcântara (PSDB) was defeated in a landslide by Cid Gomes (PSB), the brother of Ciro Gomes.

The 2010 elections came at the peak of Lula’s popularity – the outgoing term-limited President had approval ratings over 80% (the highest for any Brazilian President), the economy was performing very well after recovering from a short economic crisis and Lula’s social programs were widely hailed as great successes and best-practices in reducing poverty. Lula handpicked his successor, choosing Dilma Rousseff, who had been Minister of the Casa Civil (Chief of Staff) since Dirceu’s resignation in 2005, and Minister of Mines and Energy prior to that. Dilma, as she is widely referred to in Brazil, was born in a middle-class family in Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais) to a Bulgarian father and Brazilian mother in 1947. She was politicized as a student around the time of the 1964 military coup, and joined a non-communist far-left organization and opted for armed resistance (in the Comando de Libertação Nacional and then in VAR-Palmares) although she largely took an underground leadership rather than guerrilla role. As a member of VAR-Palmares, Dilma may have participated in that group’s most famous action – a raid on the safe of Ademar de Barros, an infamously corrupt populist former governor of São Paulo. Dilma was arrested in 1970 and tortured for 22 days, and was finally released from prison in 1972. She never returned to underground resistance, instead opting for non-electoral political activism by way of think-tanks linked to the MDB in Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul). In 1979, Dilma and her husband joined Leonel Brizola’s PDT – her husband was a PDT state deputy from 1982 to 1990 and a two-time unsuccessful mayoral candidate for the PDT in Porto Alegre, losing twice to the PT. Dilma herself never held elected office, serving as a technocratic cabinet member in a municipal administration in Porto Alegre (1985-1988) and then twice as secretary of mines and energy in the state government of Rio Grande do Sul (1993-1994, 1999-2002). Dilma broke with the PDT and joined the PT in 2001, after the short-lived PT-PDT alliance in the state fell apart during the 2000 municipal elections.

Her expertise on energy issues recognized – as well as her pragmatic relations with private businesses – she was appointed Minister of Mines and Energy in Lula’s cabinet. As minister, Dilma respected (and even expanded) all existing contracts with private firms, and her style received praise from the business sector. However, Dilma’s projects to expand the Brazilian electricity infrastructure to prevent another energy crisis often clashed with environment minister Marina Silva’s concern for such projects’ ecological footprints. As minister, she was also responsible for the development of the Luz para Todos (light for all) project, which aimed at providing free access to electricity for poor rural regions. In 2005, after José Dirceu’s resignation, Lula surprised many by appointing Dilma to replace him as his Chief of Staff.

Dilma’s candidacy for the PT as Lula’s preferred successor was in the works as early as 2008 but was only officially announced in June 2010. Dilma’s candidacy was supported by a broad coalition including the PMDB (which provided Dilma’s running-mate, the president of the Chamber of Deputies Michel Temer), PDT, PCdoB, PSB (which withdrew the early candidacy of Ciro Gomes, who only begrudgingly endorsed Dilma after the first round), PRB, the new Republic Party (Partido da República, PR) and three smaller parties including the Social Christian Party (Partido Social Cristão, PSC). The PR, a venal and slimy populist assemblage of various opportunistic politicians, had been founded in 2006 by the merger of the old PL with the remnants of the far-right populist/nationalist PRONA, whose popular and charismatic leader Enéas Carneiro died in 2007.

The main opposition candidate was José Serra, who had served as governor of São Paulo since 2007 and was leaving office with fairly high approval ratings. Serra was supported by the PSDB, DEM, PPS, PTB and two smaller parties.

Marina Silva, who had served as Lula’s environment minister from 2003 to 2008 and had been a member of the PT for over two decades, had quit the PT in 2009, a year after she left cabinet in disagreement with the government’s environmental policies. As noted above, while she was environment minister, she clashed several times with Dilma over environmental policies and conservation. While Lula tried hard to straddle both sides in the environmental protection/economic development debate, some of his policies – such as the São Francisco river diversion project, the push of agribusiness in the rainforest regions and road construction in the rainforest – were criticized by environmentalists, while those leading those projects criticized Marina for delays in the issuing of permits. In 2009, Marina – who had been a PT senator from the Amazonian state of Acre since 1995 – left the PT, which she had joined in 1986, and joined the Green Party (Partido Verde, PV). The Greens had been part of Lula’s coalition in 2002, but left the government in 2005 over environmental policy differences (but Gilberto Gil, the famous Green-aligned singer who was Lula’s culture minister, stayed in). The PV has tended to be one of the more ideologically consistent and principled minor parties, although the PV has been divided between those friendlier to the PT and those more aligned with the PSDB-led right-wing opposition. Fernando Gabeira, a writer famous for his participation in the 1969 kidnapping of the US ambassador served as a PV federal deputy from Rio de Janeiro from 1995 to 2011 (with a brief switch to the PT in 2002-2003) and came very close to becoming mayor of Rio in 2008, and in recent years he has favoured alliances with the right. On the other hand, Sarney Filho – José Sarney’s son and PV federal deputy – began his career in ARENA/PDS and nowadays supports alliances with the PT. Marina became the PV’s candidate, without any other allies.

Marina is an evangelical Christian since 1997, and has some controversial socially conservative views (which are very out of the mainstream for a Green politician) – she is pro-life, opposes same-sex marriage, stem cell research, drug legalization and expressed sympathy for creationist views.

The candidates differed little on issues such as monetary and fiscal policy (both Serra and Dilma supporting the existing macroeconomic framework and orthodox policies), while clashing on questions such as the role of the state in the economy and foreign policy.

Dilma’s support, which was as low at 3% in 2008, shot up instantly as Lula started actively campaigning for her as his anointed successor in May 2010. With the beginning of free electoral programming in August 2010, Dilma had an unassailable lead over Serra’s faltering campaign and was set to win by the first round until the last week as Marina rapidly gained in the polls (8-10% since the beginning of the year, she began gaining in the last stretch). In the first round, Dilma underperformed and won 46.9%, while both Serra and Marina overperformed their polling: Serra won 32.6% and Marina came out as the real winner, with 19.3%. Marina managed to build an unusual composite coalition with middle-class socially liberal urban bobo voters and conservative evangelical voters.

Serra managed to build a stronger campaign in the runoff, while Dilma faced a wave of attacks from Serra concerning her inexperience and from religious leaders who alleged that she was personally pro-choice (she clarified that she would not touch Brazil’s restrictive abortion laws). Nevertheless, Dilma was handily elected, with 56% of the vote.

Dilma’s coalition won a three-fifths majority in the Chamber and the Senate, with the PT replacing the PMDB as the largest party in the lower house. On the right, the PSDB, PPS and especially DEM all suffered substantial loses in Congress. The most voted candidate for the Chamber in the county was Tiririca (PR), a professional clown and singer-songwriter, who basically ran a protest joke campaign and managed 1.348 million votes (the second-highest all-time number of votes for a candidate, after PRONA’s Enéas Carneiro in 2002). Upon his election, he faced serious questions about his literacy and was forced to pass a literacy test. His support, plus that of Anthony Garotinho (also from the PR, and the second-most voted candidate in Brazil), allowed the PR to win 41 seat, making it the fifth largest party in the Chamber.

In Minas Gerais’ senate race, term-limited governor Aécio Neves (PSDB) and former President Itamar Franco (PPS) were elected to the Senate. In the gubernatorial contest in MG, Aécio’s successor Antônio Anastasia was elected to a full term with over 62% in the first round. In São Paulo, in an amusing game of musical-chairs, Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) was elected to succeed Serra as governor, with 50.6% in the first round. Aloysio Nunes (PSDB), a former federal deputy and justice minister under FHC, was elected to the first seat in the Senate with a surprisingly massive vote (he broke the existing record for the highest number of votes for any senatorial candidate in Brazil); the second seat went to Marta Suplicy (PT), a former mayor of São Paulo (2000-2004) but her co-candidate and presumed favourite, singer and TV star Netinho de Paula (PCdoB), was narrowly defeated after a story of domestic assault. In Rio de Janeiro, incumbent PMDB governor Sérgio Cabral was reelected with two-thirds of the vote against 20.7% for right-wing candidate Fernando Gabeira (PV). Lindberg Farias (PT), a former student leader and key player in the 1992 caras-pintadas movement for Collor’s impeachment, was elected to the Senate with the most votes while incumbent Senator Marcelo Crivella (PRB), a UCKG bishop and gospel singer, was reelected. In Rio Grande do Sul, PSDB governor Yeda Crusius’ administration became a trainwreck before it even began in 2007 (broken promises, corruption allegations, coalition infighting) so she was handily defeated (18.4% and third) while Tarso Genro (PT), was elected in the first round. In the DF, the DEM governor elected in 2006 – José Arruda – had been arrested while in office and later impeached after a vast corruption scandal (the mensalão do DEM). Former federal deputy Agnelo Queiroz (PT), hardly cleaner himself, was elected in the runoff with 66% of the votes against the wife of another corrupt former governor Joaquim Roriz (PSC).

In the Nordeste, the old right-wing barons suffered some major defeats. In Bahia, PT governor Jaques Wagner was reelected in a landslide (63.4%) despite having broken with the PMDB. In Pernambuco, governor Eduardo Campos (PSB) was one of the most popular governors in the country, so he was reelected with a phenomenal 82.8% against Jarbas Vasconcelos. In the senatorial contest, veteran PFL/DEM senator and former Vice President Marco Maciel was defeated in a landslide, with both seats going to the left (including one to the PT’s Humberto Costa). In Ceará, in what was perhaps one of the most unexpected result, popular PSDB senator Tasso Jereissati was defeated after Lula campaigned strongly against him. In Alagoas, incumbent governor Teo Vilela Filho (PSDB) was ultimately narrowly reelected in the second round of an exciting gubernatorial race which saw a fierce first round battle with senator/impeached President Collor (PTB) and Collor’s nemesis, former two-term governor Ronaldo Lessa (PDT). Collor was narrowly defeated by Lessa for second place in the first round (28.8% to 29.2%, with 39.6% for the incumbent), but despite an unholy alliance with Collor, Lessa was defeated in the second round. In the senatorial contest, incumbent senator Renan Calheiros (PMDB) had no problems with reelection, despite a major scandal in 2007 (Renangate: a business was accused of making payments to Renan’s ex-mistress, with whom he had an illegitimate daughter). He had narrowly survived an impeachment vote following that scandal. In Maranhão, despite another wave of corruption allegations hitting the Sarney clan (José Sarney was by then back as President of the Senate), governor Roseana Sarney (PMDB) was reelected in the first round.

Dilma’s presidency

Upon her election, Dilma – like Lula in 2002 – reiterated her commitment to follow Lula’s macroeconomic policy. Alexandre Tombini, another supporter of low-inflation policies, replaced Meirelles as President of the Central Bank, while Guido Mantega – a more ‘developmentalist’ petista, stayed on as finance minister (a post he has held since 2006).

Dilma’s cabinet was the product of a tricky balancing act, in which she needed to please every part of her broad coalition. Most ministerial portfolios went to the PT – including key ones such as finance, justice, education, health and industry – but the PT’s allies were rewarded with some portfolios. The PMDB, for example, received the Ministry of Social Security, the ministry with the highest operating budget. The PMDB, however, was disappointed with the meager clutch of ministries awarded to them. The PR received transportation, the PCdoB retained sports, the PDT got labour and the PRB received fisheries and aquaculture. These smaller parties, as it turned out, came to feel that they ‘owned’ these ministries and treated them as their private property. The President also has over 25,000 jobs in boards, agencies, state-owned firms and public institutions in her gift – although the government has insisted that these jobs largely go to professional civil servants, the truth is that a lot of these jobs are patronage posts used to reward allies. Antonio Palocci, dismissed as finance minister in 2006 following a scandal, returned to a highly powerful position as Dilma’s Chief of Staff (Minister of the Casa Civil)

After the booming economy in the last year(s) of Lula’s term, the economy was clearly overheating and Brazil’s structural economic problems became clearer. In 2011, the economy grew by only 2.7%, the slowest growth rate in South America and lower than any of Brazil’s other BRICS partners. Inflation was also fairly high as Dilma took office, and inflation hit 6.5% – the upper limit of inflation set by the Central Bank – in 2011. The government raised interest rates from 10.75% to 11.25% (with further increases to 12.5% by summer 2011), increased the minimum wage to R$545/month and cut the federal budget by R$50 billion – all measures adopted in order to cool the overheating economy and reduce inflation. Critics, however, pointed out that Dilma did little to slow the hectic increase in federal spending (which has been growing since Lula), especially on salaries, pensions and resources for the BNDES (the national development bank) for loans on infrastructure projects. In 2010, a large part of the huge GDP growth had come from the typical pre-election binge spending by all levels of government.

The government continued the social programs which had made Lula so popular, again aimed at improving the standard of living for low-income Brazilians. In March 2010, the government renewed the Growth Acceleration Program (Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento, PAC) as PAC-2, continuing the federal government’s large public works and infrastructure stimulus program first introduced in 2007 (Dilma, as Chief of Staff, had been a key player in the launch of the first PAC in 2007). PAC-2 foresaw R$1.59 trillion investments on a range of government projects and public works, including projects such as Minha Casa, Minha Vida (aimed at providing 2 million homes by 2014, 60% of them to poor families). In 2011, the government launched Brasil sem Miséria, a social program (in reality an expansion of the Bolsa Familía) aimed at removing 16.2 million people from ‘extreme poverty’ (living on less than R$70 per month) and ensuring that all welfare recipients have a monthly household per-person income over R$70Other programs included support to microentrepreneurship, construction of cisterns for consumption and agriculture and ‘Science without Borders’ (funding 75,000 scholarships for post-secondary students to study STEM subjects abroad). Official sources claim that the government’s anti-poverty programs and initiatives have been very successful at alleviating poverty, improving poor families’ living conditions, empowering women, expanding education and improving health outcomes.

Early in her first term, Dilma continued her predecessor’s moderate economic policies, much to the chagrin of forces further left and the PT’s traditional allies in organized labour. A notable example came with airports – passenger numbers have expanded in recent years, and the organization of major international sporting events – the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics – required larger, modern and well-managed airport. Brazilian airports are managed by Infraero, a state-owned company under the Ministry of Defense which is a byword for bureaucratic obstruction and mismanagement. In April 2011, the government announced that it would grant concessions to private companies to manage some of Brazil’s largest airports. Thus far, 6 major airports (Natal, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Campinas, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão) are administered by private companies with concessions with minority participation (49%) by Infraero in 5 of them.

The government also cut payroll taxes for selected industries, widened a scheme which allows small businesses to use a simplified system for filing tax returns, worked to rationalize interstate taxes and sought to improve productivity by offering more scholarships and technical training.

Public spending on pensions and old age dependency in Brazil and other major economies (source: The Economist, Sept. 28, 2013)

One policy area which is of growing urgency for the federal government is pensions – Brazil has an absurdly generous constitutionally-entrenched pension system for private and public sector workers. Brazil spends about 11% of its GDP on pensions – slightly less than Italy and France, but far more than the UK, Canada or the US; all countries which have a much older population than Brazil. The pension system is extremely generous – for old age pensions on full pay with a high cap, private sector workers need only contribute for 15 years and work until 65 (men)/60 (women), with the possibility for a slightly less generous pension if one has contributed for 35 (men)/30 (women) years. Public sector workers have it even better – with a slightly earlier retirement age (60 and 55, only for those hired since a 1998 reform which increased the retirement ages from 53 and 48), and a minimum of 10 years of work (before 1998, there wasn’t even a vesting period). Contribution rates are very high, which may discourage formal employment.

There is a very strong re-distributive element in the pension system – there are exemptions from contributions and reduced contribution rates for low-wage earners, and a guaranteed right to a minimum monthly pension of R$678 to poor men and women (above the ages of 65 and 60) even if they have never contributed. Rural workers, regardless of income, can retire earlier and get R$622 per month without ever contributing. All pensions must exceed the minimum wage, which increases every year. Finally, bereaved spouses – unlike in almost every other country – get the full sum of the deceased’s pension (even if they were not retired) for the rest of their lives. On the whole, Brazilians – on average – can retire on 70% of final pay at 54, compared to 61 in Greece (whose pension system was held as one of the culprits for the crisis). As a result, the pension fund has a large deficit.

In contrast, while Brazil spends a lot on pensions (roughly half of the federal budget goes to pension, with another large chunk for salaries), it spends very little on infrastructure, investments and children. Therefore, old age poverty is less of an issue, but child poverty is a major problem in Brazil. Children-oriented benefits are sparse and meager – the means-tested Bolsa Família grants only average R$155 per month. Reforms to the pension system are seen as inevitable, but they remain very tough – partly because the constitution guarantees lots of rights to workers and pensioners, partly because it requires a lot of political capital. In February 2012, Congress passed a reform which caps the defined-benefits plans of future federal government employees at the private sector’s levels (R$3916 per month). In 2013, the government was forced to abandon a reform which would include a minimum retirement age. Many analysts insist that further, tougher reforms are necessary – The Economist proposed a minimum retirement age, less generous benefits (which are currently constitutionally tied to the minimum wage) and is critical of the yearly increases in the minimum wage (it is increased by the sum of the previous year’s inflation and GDP growth from the year before that), but admitted that such changes are unlikely to find much congressional support.

In her first years in office, Dilma faced an avalanche of scandals coming from her cabinet. In June 2011, Antonio Palocci, the Chief of Staff, was forced to resign after an unexplained 20-fold increase in his personal wealth as a result of consultancy work. Taking advantage of the government’s weakness, the PMDB in Congress took the opportunity to defy the government by granting an amnesty for illegal logging prior to 2008; while the ‘evangelical bench’ (a caucus of evangelical congressmen) forced the government to drop plans for anti-homophobia education in schools. In July 2011, Veja revealed a corruption scheme in the Ministry of Transportation, under Alfredo Nascimento (PR-AM), with the the PR demanding a 4% kickback from contractors interested in government contracts – the money went to fill the PR’s treasury or ‘commissions’ to congressmen from states where those contracts would be. Nascimento resigned quickly, but a rather pissed off PR stopped actively supporting the government. In August 2011, the Minister of Agriculture Wagner Rossi (PMDB-SP) was forced to resign after investigations revealed that a ‘criminal organization’ existed under his eyes in his ministry (according to the Federal Police). Rossi was accused of being chummy with lobbyists, covering up bribes and electoral crimes and using public funds to pay off the debts of private companies. In August 2011, a police raid dismantled a scheme to divert public funds in the Ministry of Tourism, and Sarney ally Pedro Novais (PMDB-MA) was forced to resign the portfolio. In August 2011, the Minister of Cities, Mário Negromonte (PP-BA) became mixed up in a corruption scheme (bribing congressmen to support him in an internal conflict in the PP) and, later, other corruption accusations forced him to resign in February 2012. In October 2011, the Minister of Sports Orlando Silva (PCdoB-SP) was accused of using the ministry to provide a funding stream, charging kickbacks to offer contracts or funneling them towards affiliated businesses and NGOs, and he was personally accused of receiving kickbacks in return for directing funds to corrupt contractors under a program intended to bring sports facilities to children in poor areas. The scheme allegedly began under Agnelo Queiroz (PT-DF), the Minister of Sports from 2003 to 2006 (as a member of the PCdoB at the time) and governor of the DF since 2010. To save Agnelo, the PT negotiated Orlando Silva’s resignation but the PCdoB retained the sports ministry with Aldo Rebelo. In November 2011, the Minister of Labour Carlos Lupi (PDT-RJ) was accused of charging kickbacks for contracts, extorting NGOs, siphoning off public funds to semi-phantom NGOs and accepting flights from a contractor. Lupi initially denied any wrongdoing or any flights, but was forced to resign when that was proven to be a lie.

Dilma’s tough stance against corrupt ministers – even if, in reality, she only forced them out when things were far too hot for her – was popular, and her approval ratings were very high throughout 2011 and most of 2012.

In 2012, a Federal Police investigation revealed close links between illegal gambling boss Carlos Cachoeira (arrested by the police operation in February 2012) and politicians from both the government and opposition in the Centre-West region. Top among them was opposition senator Demóstenes Torres (DEM-GO), accused of using his influence and power to advocate for Cachoeira’s business interests in exchange for gifts and money; Demóstenes left his party and became the second senator to be impeached by his colleagues in July 2012. A CPI into the Cachoeira case looked at links between the gambling boss and governor Marconi Perillo (PSDB-GO), governor Agnelo Queiroz (PT-DF), governor Sérgio Cabral (PMDB-RJ), deputies from several parties (PT, PP, PPS, PCdoB, PTB, PSDB) and bureaucrats.

In a welcome blow to the tradition of impunity for political corruption, there was finally judicial action on the mensalão case from Lula’s first term. The process was, as is usually the case in Brazil, very drawn-out and convoluted: in April 2006, the Prosecutor General of the Republic had indicted 40 people for crimes including racketeering, embezzlement, money laundering, bribery and tax evasion; the STF received most of the accusations and began a trial in August 2007 and the STF finally handed down sentences in September 2012. The three leading political masterminds – José Dirceu, Delúbio Soares and José Genoino were found guilty and sentenced to jail (Dirceu received 10 years and 10 months); Marcos Valério was found guilty and sentenced to over 40 years in jail and two other of his associates also received very long jail sentences. After a final round of appeals, in March 2014, the STF reduced Dirceu’s sentence to 7 years and 11 months in a ‘semi-open’ jail regime (Genoino got 4 years 8 months, and Delúbio Soares got 6 years and 8 months) and Marcos Valério’s sentence was reduced to 37 years and 5 months in a closed regime. João Paulo Cunha (PT-SP), who was President of the Chamber during the scandal (2003-2005) and had been accused of receiving money from Marcos Valério, was finally sentenced to 6 years and 4 months in jail. Senior managers from the private Banco Rural and the state-controlled Banco do Brasil were also convicted of fraud and money-laundering.

Growth slowed significantly in 2012, with only 1% GDP growth while inflation remained in the upper band with 5.84%. Controversially, in August 2011, the Central Bank – allegedly pushed by the government – decided to reduce interest rates by 0.5%, to 12%. By October 2012, the Central Bank had cuts its interest rates even further, to an all-time low of 7.25%. The opposition claimed that the Central Bank was losing its independence and succumbing to the government’s push for lower interest rates. The image of the government publicly ‘bullying’ the Central Bank to cut interest rates, undermined Brazil’s reputation for macroeconomic orthodoxy in the eyes of investors and markets lost trust in Dilma. The poor growth rates for 2012 came as a shock to the government, and were partly the product of a fall in investments despite policies to reduce business costs, lower interest rates and Central Bank interventions to engineer a 20% fall in the real’s value.

The primary surplus worsened in 2012 and 2013. In 2012, the government recorded a primary surplus (before interest payments) of 2.39% of GDP, missing the 3.1% target. Besides, the government has tended to engage in (legal) creative accounting to fudge the surplus figures in the past. In 2013, the primary surplus fell to only 1.9%. Many analysts were also worried about the government’s plans to loosen up the praised 2000 fiscal responsibility law, passed by FHC’s administration, which puts ‘breaks’ on excessive spending by all levels of government and requiring accountability from governments.  The trade balance also worsened beginning in 2011-2012. From 2001 to 2012, Brazil ran regular trades surpluses primarily due to the export of mining and agricultural products (soybeans). In 2013, the country started recording trade deficits mainly due to the high exports of consumption products and the growing weight of fuel imports.

Responding to the economic slowdown, the government introduced some short-term protectionist measures while taking modest steps towards more constructive longer-term reforms. In September 2011, it imposed higher taxes on imported cars, in a bid to force foreign carmakers to build factories in Brazil. In 2012, Dilma announced that the government would grant concessions to private companies to invest in roads and railways; inviting them to build, upgrade and operate toll roads and railways. However, in 2013, the auctions were delayed because of the government’s unwillingness to allow a competitive return alienated investors. On top of that, the government had trouble extracting support from Congress – it took typical arm-twisting and pork to get congressmen to approve a law increasing competition and private investment in crowded ports (private ports can now handle third-party cargo and hire their own staff rather than casual workers from the dockworkers’ union).

Dilma’s government also proved quite defiant to public sector workers’ demands for higher wages – teachers and professors in federal universities went on strike in 2012, demanding a substantial pay raise, and the movement was joined by the federal police and other public servants. In the end, they were granted an inflation-only offer of 15.8% over three years. These strikes were led by the CUT, the largest union confederation historically closely linked to the PT.

The custo Brasil (source: The Economist, Sept. 28, 2013)

With rising interest rates in 2013 – inflation reached 5.91% that year, again in the upper range of the Central Bank’s band – the Central Bank finally increased interest rates beginning in April 2013, gradually reaching the current level of 11.25%. The government was initially reluctant to increase interest rates, and tried to control inflation by cutting sales taxes and holding down the price of basic necessities. Some of the government’s anti-inflation policy initiatives were criticized as amateurish and bad for other sectors of the economy – keeping oil prices low weakened Petrobras and the sugarcane ethanol industry, electorally-motivated electricity subsidies and rate cuts have led to fears that Brazil may face another electricity shortage. In late 2013, the government moved to tighten credit, by announcing that it would stop capitalizing the national development bank (BNDES)

One of the major factors holding down the Brazilian economy and weakening the country’s competitiveness is the custo Brasil – the high cost of doing business in Brazil, because of factors including excessive red tape (a long delay to start a business), a slow bureaucracy, the high tax burden (Brazil’s tax burden, at about 38% of GDP, is the second-highest in Latin America after Argentina), high export/import costs, expensive labour costs, high electricity prices, poor infrastructure, high interest rates and economic cartels. Dilma’s government promised to reduce the custo Brasil and repeatedly floated several ideas, but ultimately was able to do very little: nothing came of promises for broad-based tax cuts or abolishing taxes on electricity.

Infrastructure, as noted above, is a major weakness in the Brazilian economy. Brazilian roads, airports, railways and ports are commonly described as being in disastrous shape with little government investment (indeed – the feds spend only 1.5% of GDP on infrastructure). A McKinsey Global Institute report on infrastructure worldwide measured the total value of Brazil’s ‘infrastructure stock’ at only 16%, extremely low compared to a worldwide average of 71% (or 64% in the US, 58% in Canada and 57% in the UK). Obviously, this has ramifications on the economy – Brazilian producers, like farmers, spend far more than their counterparts abroad on transportation costs.

More broadly, the lack of investments weakens the Brazilian economy and, as the electricity crisis in FHC’s last term showed, may have disastrous effects. Because the government can not, constitutionally, shrink pensions or cut the public sector, the ax falls on investments. Even when there are investments, the results are often seen as disappointing – the result of Lula’s first PAC (the big state-led public works program) were disappointing, and state-run companies like Infraero mismanage their investment budgets so little of it actually gets spent properly.

Brazil came to the fore of international attention in June 2013 – not because of the FIFA Confederations Cup, but rather because of the huge wave of popular protests throughout Brazil’s largest cities (described as the largest protest wave in Brazil since the 1992 Fora Collor movement for Collor’s impeachment). The movement began in São Paulo with the Movimento Passe Livre‘s protests against public transit fare hikes (although similar protests on the same subject had already been organized in other cities in 2012 and early 2013) – the city’s newly-elected mayor Fernando Haddad (PT) had announced a fare increase from R$3 to R$3.2 (costs had been frozen for the municipal elections in 2012 and a January fee hike delayed to help the feds massage the inflation figures), sparking protests in early June. The ‘first phase’ of the protests, largely in São Paulo but spreading fitfully to other cities, were more violent, focused quasi-exclusively on transportation/transit and had little sympathy from the press or the population. The conservative media decried the MPL as radical leftist activists with unrealistic aims, and urged the police to crack down. Commuters were originally hardly fond of disturbances caused by the young protesters. However, on June 13, a brutal and excessive crackdown by São Paulo’s military police completely changed the situation – the movement became national, it transformed from a single-issue movement to broad-based protests of dissatisfaction (similar to the Turkish protests in 2013) and the public overwhelmingly sided with the protests.

Beginning on June 17 until the end of the month, and coinciding with the FIFA Confederations Cup, there were huge protests in cities throughout Brazil – with the biggest crowds in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Porto Alegre, Goiânia, Vitória and Recife – with the biggest rallies on June 18 (430,000), June 20 (1.5 million) and June 21 (330,000).

The immediate cause of the mass protest movement was police repression and brutality in São Paulo and other cities on June 13, when the military police used stun grenades, rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas to indiscriminately disperse protesters leading to hundreds of arrests and numbers of wounded protesters and journalists. In the second phase, the aims of the protests became more diffuse – demanding less corruption, better public services, control of inflation and protesting the high spending on the FIFA Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup. The 2014 FIFA World Cup was the most expensive tournament in the history of the World Cup, at a cost of about US$ 14 billion, compared to US$4 billion in South Africa 2010. The lavish (over)spending on the World Cup and the construction of five new stadiums in host cities was one of the major criticisms of the protesters, contrasting the binge spending on first-class stadiums (some in cities, like Manaus, which will struggle to use the stadiums after the World Cup) with the low spending on public services. Economic causes for the protests included the high taxes (with the sentiment that taxpayers get little in return), public transit costs for low-income workers and increased inflation eating into Brazilians’ purchasing power. Political causes included widespread corruption, congressional incompetence and impunity and controversial legislation. Protesters demanded the rejection of PEC 37, a constitutional amendment which would reduce prosecutors’ powers to investigate politicians; and a ‘gay cure law’ (allowing psychologists to consider homosexuality as an ‘illness’ and prescribe ‘gay cure therapy’) which had been approved by the Chamber’s Commission on Human Rights and Minorities, chaired by noted racist and homophobic neo-Pentecostal pastor Marco Feliciano (PSC-SP). Other protesters also called for the resignation of the President of the Senate, Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL), who had survived an impeachment vote after the 2007 Renangate scandal (allegations that a lobbyist had paid maintenance on his behalf to a mistress with whom he had had a child, and that he then faked receipts for the sale of cattle to try to prove that he could have afforded to pay her himself). The protests had a marked anti-partisan or non-partisan tone, although many protesters, of middle-class background, had left-wing views.

After politicians and the conservative press dismissed the first wave of protesters as radical vandals who needed to be roughed up, the government and Dilma tried to embrace the protest movement and Dilma claimed that she understood the demands of protesters. Lula claimed that the PT had been wrong to distance itself from young people, and was now paying the price. São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad (PT-SP) and Rio mayor Eduardo Paes (PMDB-RJ) both met with protesters in their cities and proposed freezing public transit fares. On June 21, Dilma called a meeting with the top brass of the state including ministers, Vice President Michel Temer and the President of the Chamber Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB-RN) and Dilma addressed the nation in a televised address that evening. She promised to improve public services, bring foreign doctors to expand the universal healthcare service (SUS), meet with leaders of the peaceful protests, allocate oil royalties to education and healthcare (a proposal rejected by Congress in 2012) and said that government loans for stadiums would be paid back in full and that they didn’t come from the ordinary budget (but rather in the form of subsidized credits from the BNDES to construction firms – who, as it happens, are big contributors to political parties). After meeting with the MPL, mayors and state governors, Dilma later announced five key commitments: investments in public transit, continuing measures to control inflation and ensure economic stability, acceleration of investments in healthcare and attracting doctors to work in remote and poor regions for the SUS, 100% of oil royalties for education/healthcare and political reform including a constituent assembly, declaring corruption a felony (rather than misdemeanor) and a plebiscite on constitutional reform. The next day, however, the likely unconstitutional proposal for a constituent assembly was shelved in favour of a plebiscite (Dilma had apparently decided on a constituent assembly without consultation). Dilma met with union leaders, but was unsuccessful in getting them to call off a general strike for July 11 and union leaders left the meeting angry that the government had used the meeting to boast their plans rather than listen to the unions’ demands (which included 10% of GDP for healthcare, 10% of GDP for education, 40h work week, agrarian reform, political reform, investments in public transit, democratization of the media etc).

Congress suddenly stopped being their usual grubby and self-interested selves, and passed legislation which made corruption a heinous crime, soundly rejected PEC 37 and killed off the ‘gay cure law’. The government moved forward with proposals for a plebiscite (in Brazil, a plebiscite is understood as being before the creation of a law and the people approves or rejects a question; a referendum, which the opposition wanted, is held after the passage of a law to ratify it) – with ideas including campaign finance reform, electoral reform and anti-corruption measures. However, as the protests died down in July and politicians got back to being themselves, the idea for a plebiscite was all but forgotten. The parties disagreed on what form political and electoral reform should take – the PT supports public financing of campaigns and closed-list PR, the PMDB is split on electoral reform but some may favour single-member FPTP while the PSDB supports MMP. No major party seriously supports abolishing the over-representation of states in the Chamber (as it would require a constitutional amendment).

The protest wave died down, however, at the end of June – although some smaller protests occurred in July and once again in the run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The June 2013 protests, with hindsight, became a clear before-after moment for Dilma’s presidency. Since taking office, Dilma enjoyed high approval ratings – in 2012 and early 2013, over 60% of respondents evaluated her performance as ‘good/very good’, about 30% as ‘regular’ and only 5-7% as ‘bad/very bad’. She had wide approval across party lines, even on the centre-right. On June 6-7 2013, Datafolha (a major pollster) pegged her approval at 57% good, 33% regular and 9% bad. On June 27-28, the same pollster showed that her approval collapsed to 30% good, 43% regular and 25% bad. Although her ‘bad’ ratings declined in the last months of 2013 and her ‘good’ ratings moved up to 40%, she has never reached the same pre-protest approval levels.

In July 2013, Dilma launched the Mais Médicos (more doctors) program to attract doctors to work in under-served remote regions and the peripheries of major cities (the general spatial pattern in Brazilian urban areas is that the peripheries are poor, while the inner city core is the most middle-class – this is especially the case in São Paulo). Given that the government’s efforts, through various incentives, to attract Brazilian med school grads and doctors to work in remote regions were woefully unsuccessful, it effectively turned towards foreign countries – in particular, Cuba. The Brazilian government signed a contract with the Cuban government to bring Cuban medical professionals to work in Brazil, under controversial contracts negotiated by the Cuban and Brazilian governments (the doctors were paid US$1,000, which was sent to the Cuban government which returned only 40% to the doctors). The program was criticized by the opposition, the Brazilian Medical Association and the Federal Council of Medicine, but public opinion was generally narrowly in favour. Some credited the increase in Dilma’s approval ratings in late 2013 to the program.

Economic indicators did not improve in 2013 or 2014, although growth stood at 2.3% in 2013. Inflation clocked in at 5.91% in 2013 and monthly inflation numbers in 2014 have suggested that inflation will again be quite high this year. Brazil’s trade balance worsened, even registering a deficit in the first two months of 2014 and again in September 2014. In February 2014, finance minister Guido Mantega announced a budget including R$44 billion in spending cuts and 1.9% target for primary surplus (which analysts are now saying Brazil will miss).

Brazil successfully hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Although public opinion was mixed-to-negative about the event prior to the kickoff in June 2014, most became supportive once it got underway and concerns about the risk of a ‘fiasco’ or disaster were proved wrong. Of course, Brazil was shaken by its 7-1 humiliation (Mineiraço) against Germany in the semi-final in Belo Horizonte, but there were almost no riots in the aftermath and it had no political impact (there was certainly some speculation that, in football-crazy Brazil, Dilma could be hurt by the Seleção’s defeat).

2014 election: Candidates, Issue and Campaign

Dilma ran for reelection. Dilma was elected in 2010 largely thanks to her mentor and predecessor’s popularity (especially with poor Brazilians in the Nordeste) and the good shape of the Brazilian economy at the time, although it was already clear in 2010 that Dilma was a strong personality herself and would not be a ‘pawn’ of Lula. Nevertheless, immediately after her victory, many wondered if Lula would run again for a third non-consecutive term in 2014 and that Dilma would only be a placeholder for the four-year term. However, Dilma slowly emerged from Lula’s shadow and proved herself – although less bold in its gestures, her government was more technocratic, feminine, personally loyal and firmer in its principles than Lula’s administration was. Although in the first year in office, Dilma’s ministers mostly got in the news for scandals, the appointments of capable and competent ministers like Eleonora Menicucci (who had shared a jail cell with Dilma in the 1970s) as women’s minister and Marco Antonio Raupp (a respected economist) as science minister were well received. Lula himself was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in October 2011 and underwent treatment and chemo (he cut his hair and beard, a dramatic change in his appearance), and was fully recovered in the spring of 2012.

Lula has retained an active role in politics since 2010. In the 2012 municipal elections, Lula used his power as unofficial party boss in São Paulo to sideline former PT mayor Marta Suplicy in favour of education minister Fernando Haddad (who he felt could have a stronger appeal to middle-class voters) and Lula actively promoted Haddad as his candidate – as a result of his campaigning, Haddad moved from 7% in the first polls into a three-way tie for first in the last poll, and ended up a strong second in the first round with 29% against 30.8% for José Serra (PSDB) and only 21.6% for initial frontrunner Celso Russomano (PRB). In the second round, Haddad soundly defeated Serra (55.6% to 44.4%), despite São Paulo being a conservative city (his victory also owed a lot to Serra’s unpopularity, being seen as an old politician who doesn’t know when to stop and one with little loyalty to the jobs he holds). Lula handpicking Fernando Haddad was initially seen as a potentially disastrous move, but in the end it was a masterful act of genius from a remarkable political operator. Despite his keen interest in politics, Lula repeatedly denied interest in a 2014 candidacy and reiterated his full support for Dilma on several occasions.

Although Dilma never recovered from June 2013, she remained seen as the favourite for reelection in 2014 given her resilient base of support and the weakness of the opposition, which struggled to profit from the protests. Certainly the leading opposition party, the PSDB, was unable to profit much from the protests because it too was identified as part of the corrupt political system and São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin initially supported a hardline policy against the protesters. The PSDB’s administration in São Paulo was also hit by a corruption investigation – companies building and maintaining train and metro lines were suspected of having formed a cartel and defrauding the state of hundreds of millions of reais.

One of the few politicians who stood to gain from the protests was Marina Silva, the Green candidate in 2010. Marina, however, left the PV in June 2011 and launched a new political platform, Rede Sustentabilidade, in January 2013 with the clear aim of getting the party registered with the TSE and running for president in 2014. However, in October 2013, one year before the election, the TSE denied her party’s registration because it had failed to gather the required signatures (492,000).

Dilma had difficult relations with her ‘base’ in Congress throughout her administration, having to deal with prickly and conceited allies who often threw fits when they were unhappy with something. The PMDB, as it usually does, threatened to ditch the PT several times – mostly to extract more concessions from the government. The PT managed to get the corrupt PR back on board before the election.

A key player in the 2010 coalition, the PSB – led by the ambitious and wildly popular governor of Pernambuco Eduardo Campos – began asserting its independence from the PT and the government as early as 2011 and speculation about Campos’ presidential ambitions were commonplace in 2012. The PSB did well in the 2012 municipal elections, with key victories over the PT in Recife, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Cuiabá and Campinas. In Belo Horizonte, PSB mayor Márcio Lacerda was also supported by the state’s popular former governor and likely 2014 candidate senator Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG). As governor of Pernambuco, Eduardo Campos was a pragmatic reformist – he reformed education, extended the school day, attracted a host of new industries to the state, opened new hospitals, teamed up with NGOs and the private sector to reform education and healthcare, challenged public sector unions, worked to tackle poverty, emphasized government transparency and implemented several successful and internationally-recognized programs to tackle gender inequality or crime. As a result of his competent administration, the state enjoyed solid growth, educational outcomes improved, infant mortality decreased, life expectancy increased and the homicide rate fell significantly. To his critics, however, Campos had the trappings of a (modern) Northeastern coronel – at any rate, Campos was a rather skilled and wily politician.

Campos’ presidential candidacy and the PSB’s break from the coalition elicited opposition from the other leading PSB coronels in the Nordeste – the Gomes brothers in Ceará (governor Cid Gomes and his brother Ciro Gomes), who supported Dilma. Ironically, Ciro Gomes had wanted to be the PSB’s presidential candidate in 2010 but his candidacy was shoved aside by PSB leaders who supported Dilma, much to his displeasure. The Gomes brothers joined the Republican Party of Social Order (Partido Republicano da Ordem Social, PROS), a nondescript party which had been founded in 2010.

On the other hand, a group of dissidents from the DEM, PSDB and PP led by the former DEM mayor of São Paulo Gilberto Kassab (2006-2012) moved towards the government and formed the Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrático, PSD) in March 2011. The PSD’s ranks also included the governor of Santa Catarina Raimundo Colombo (ex-DEM), senator and agriculturalist Kátia Abreu (PSD-TO), veteran politician and São Paulo vice-governor Guilherme Afif Domingos (ex-DEM).

Dilma‘s national coalition for reelection included the PT, the PMDB (with Vice President Michel Temer as her running-mate once more), the PSD, the PP, the PR, the PCdoB, the PDT, the PRB and the Gomes brothers in the PROS.

Dilma’s campaign focused heavily on the Lula/Dilma record since 2003 – the manifesto submitted to the TSE read like a thorough grocery list of the governments’ achievements in a number of fields, most significant among them being: nearly eradicating of extreme poverty, the major decrease in poverty (with the claim that the two lowest social classes have fallen from 55% to 25% of the population since 2003), macroeconomic stability, expansion of infrastructure, job creation (Brazil’s unemployment rate is low and has remained low), the expansion of education, the success of programs such as Bolsa Família and Brasil sem Miséria. It also proposed much of the same – vague commitments to improving productivity, reducing bureaucracy, boosting entrepreneurship, transitioning to a knowledge economy, environmental protection, expanding early childhood education, investing in the quality of education (overall, the government is committed to investing 10% of the GDP in education by 2024), expanding youth job opportunities, expanding access to medical specialists and a vague promise for political reform including a plebiscite and more ‘popular participation’. Maintaining and expanding popular social programs such as Bolsa Família were front and centre in Dilma’s campaign

On economic issues, Dilma reiterated the importance of macroeconomic stability and low inflation with lower interest rates and flexible exchange rates – in other words, the same policy, although with a different finance minister since Guido Mantega’s departure was confirmed. She defended state intervention in the economy, the use of public-private partnerships to build infrastructure and some protectionist measures. Dilma’s economic record has been the focus of most of the criticism in the last four years, and she has by and large lost the support of investors and the markets – because of what they judge to be inefficient policies against inflation, unfriendliness towards the private sector, excessive state intervention in the economy and too much meddling in the Central Bank’s business.

Aécio Neves was the candidate of the PSDB. Aécio is the grandson of Tancredo Neves, the veteran moderate opposition politician during the military regime who gained a somewhat mythical status as the result of his election to the presidency in 1985 and untimely, tragic death before he could take office. Aécio went on to serve four terms as a federal deputy from Minas Gerais, from 1987 to 2003, and was President of the Chamber of Deputies from February 2001 to December 2002. As President of the Chamber, Aécio pushed an ‘ethics package’ to increase transparency in Congress and ended congressional immunity for ordinary crimes.

In 2002, Aécio was elected governor of Minas Gerais, an office which his grandfather Tancredo had held from 1983 to 1984. The state had major fiscal and economic problems in 2002, with debts and deficits breaking the limits set by the fiscal responsibility law, although Aécio’s supporters may have a tendency to overstate the ‘catastrophic’ nature of the state’s situation (although Aécio’s predecessor as governor, Itamar Franco, had defaulted on the state debt upon taking office in 1999 and inadvertently triggered a devaluation of the real). Regardless, upon his election, Aécio introduced ‘management shock’ (choque de gestão) with the aim of reducing the state’s debt and deficit, modernize and reorganize the state apparatus and implement new management techniques – he reduced public spending, increased taxes, improved tax collection, cut the number of state ministries, capped public sector pay, left over 3000 patronage jobs unfilled, adopted new models of public-private partnerships and pushed for performance targets in the public sector. He also oversaw the construction of a Brasília-like government complex centralizing all government offices in Belo Horizonte. Taken as a whole, Aécio’s reforms in MG bear a lot of similarities to New Public Management (NPM) public sector reforms introduced in some countries since the 1980s. As a result of Aécio’s reforms, the state found R$ 1 billion in savings, the government cut its own expenditures, inefficient public servants were dismissed, bonuses were cut, the government introduced transparent public tenders for government procurement, the governor took a pay cut himself and the state paid off its debt in 2005 (after 14 years in debt). The long-term effectiveness of Aécio’s early reforms has been questioned by some analysts. His government also improved education, created a program to fight rural poverty and paved roads with financing from the Inter-American Development Bank.

Aécio was one of the most popular governors in Brazil – his campaign ads this year boasted a ‘92% approval’ when leaving office. In 2006, Aécio was reelected in a landslide, winning 77% of the vote against a PT candidate. Aécio and the local PSDB branches in MG closed their eyes (or covertly backed) to ‘Lula-Aécio’ campaigns (calling on voters to vote for Lula for president, over PSDB candidate Geraldo Alckmin, and Aécio for governor) – this strong vote-splitting badly hurt Alckmin, although Aécio cared little since he had clear presidential ambitions himself. Aécio tried out for the PSDB’s nomination in 2010, but waiting around too much and focusing on the election of his vice-governor Antônio Anastasia as his successor as governor meant that he ultimately was pushed aside by José Serra. He ran for Senate instead, and although he campaigned alongside Serra he didn’t exert himself too much for him (again, because Aécio was thinking of his presidential ambitions for 2014). As far as he was concerned, 2010 was another successful election – he was elected to the Senate with over 7.5 million votes in MG, and his replacement as governor, Antônio Anastasia, was elected to a full term as governor with a wide majority in the first round.

Aécio’s tenure in the Senate, however, has not been very memorable. In April 2011, he was pulled over by police and refused to take a breathalyzer test while his drivers’ license was seized for being expired. However, Aécio did obviously emerge as a leading opposition voice in the Senate. With Serra’s defeat in the runoff ballot, Aécio immediately became the favourite for the PSDB candidacy in 2014 – however, Serra retained presidential ambitions (despite two defeats) and tried to gather enough support in PSDB ranks to run. In November 2013, Aécio was nominated as the PSDB’s candidate after Serra failed to gather enough support. It’s interesting to note that Aécio was the first PSDB presidential candidate who wasn’t from São Paulo – all six PSDB candidates since 1989 have been from São Paulo.

Aécio’s running-mate was Senator Aloysio Nunes (PSDB-SP), a former federal deputy and justice minister under FHC. Interestingly, Aloysio Nunes was a Communist in his youth and participated in the armed struggle against the military regime (he partook in the raid of a train) before he went into exile in France. With the 1979 amnesty, he returned to Brazil and joined the PMDB before joining the PSDB in 1997. In 2010, he was elected to the Senate from São Paulo with the most votes of any candidate in the country (11.1 million votes).

Aécio’s coalition, Muda Brasil, was supported by the PSDB and the DEM, as well as a whole slew of smaller parties. These were the venal PTB; the new Solidarity (Solidariedade, SD), a party founded by ex-PDT federal deputy and trade union leader (Força Sindical) Paulo Pereira da Silva (Paulinho da Força); the National Mobilization Party (Partido da Mobilização Nacional, PMN), an originally left-wing party which has become an ideology-free venal beast; the new National Ecological Party (Partido Ecológico Nacional, PEN); the tiny National Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Nacional, PTN); the Christian Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Cristão, PTC), a small right-wing party which was originally Collor’s party in 1989 (as the PRN); and the tiny Labour Party of Brazil (Partido Trabalhista do Brasil, PTdoB), which shouldn’t be confused with the PTB (lol Brazilian party names!). In 2010, the PTC and PTN had supported Dilma. The PTB and PTdoB had backed Serra. It’s worth reiterating, at this point, that national-level coalitions have little implications on state-level coalitions: while the PSDB/DEM will rarely ally with the PT (or PCdoB) at any level, the PMDB may ally with the right against the PT or run independently (with smaller allies) against the PT, many small parties will support different parties in different states (eg: parties like SD which backed Aécio backed the PT in some states, the PSD which backed Dilma backed the PSDB/DEM in some states). Confused? That’s fine, everybody is!

Aécio’s platform was similar to traditional tucano (PSDB – the party’s symbol is a toucan) discourse – vaguely centre-right liberal reformism, with a fondness for ideas like ‘efficiency’, ‘simplicity’, ‘innovation’, ‘transparency’ and decentralization. It’s hardly a hard-right neoliberal platform which wants to slash the welfare states (as the PT likes to paint the PSDB as), although the PSDB does share some neoliberal ideas like privatization, NPM theories of public administration and free market economics. The PSDB, however, has also supported social benefits and state spending to alleviate poverty (and supports popular PT programs like Bolsa Família). Nevertheless, the PSDB’s support for privatization (a highly controversial idea in Brazil) and tendency to cut state spending in order to balance the books is often used against the party by its critics on the left and the PT. In recent years, the PSDB has adopted tougher rhetoric on law and order/security issues – this year, Governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB-SP) ran a strong campaign emphasizing law and order themes. Aécio’s 2014 manifesto attacked government policies, stagflation, Dilma’s economic interventionism, ‘out of control’ public spending, corruption and creative accounting.

Aécio’s key themes were decentralization – devolving more autonomy and resources to state and local governments to provide quality public services (contrasted with the alleged concentration of money and power with the federal government under the PT) while sharing a common vision, and shared delivery of services between levels of government; confidence – for citizens, investors, employers and workers (in effect, creating a stable climate of confidence in laws and regulations for business); transparency – fighting corruption and other shady government practices; simplicity – reducing bureaucracy and reforming public administration; innovation – improving global economic competitiveness by investing in R&D; efficiency – a ‘management shock’ to ensure more efficient management of public resources; popular participation – fluff. In concrete terms, the campaign’s main promises were a reform of public services (particularly education, healthcare, public safety and transit), a reform of public safety (eradicating impunity and strengthening security forces), a political reform, a tax reform (to simplify the tax system and reduce the custo Brasil) and a reform (upgrade) of infrastructure (a coordinated investment plan for infrastructure with private participation).

Aécio promised a more liberal economic policy than Dilma – reducing inflation to 4.5%, then reducing the Central Bank’s target to 3% with a 1.5% tolerance range, limiting increase in public spending to GDP growth, increasing investments from 16% to 24% of GDP, closer integration of the Brazilian economy with the global economy (by reducing export taxes, reducing costs, cutting bureaucratic hurdles, tariff reform, supporting free trade agreements and supporting Brazilian businesses internationally), a tax reform (simplifying the tax system and reducing the tax burden in the long run), removing sectoral protections for industry and more competition in the economy (fighting monopolies and cartels). Aécio called for more investments in infrastructure, but in partnership with the private sector through PPPs. To address the pension/social security deficit, Aécio proposed to reduce the size of the informal sector in the economy so there can be more contributors to social security; he also spoke in favour of combating welfare fraud and increasing the specialization of labour to reduce turnover. In the public sector, the PSDB candidate’s manifesto preached in favour of adopting NPM reforms similar to those he adopted as governor of MG. Finally, Aécio Neves promised ‘de-bureaucratization’ – reducing red tape, making it easier to open and run a business, reducing redundancies and time lost to bureaucratic hassles, greater dialogue with the public and civil society and more use of technology.

The tucano candidate promised to retain the Bolsa Família – in fact, as senator, he proposed to upgrade it to a state policy by integrating it in the law on social assistance (guaranteeing it as a permanent right for vulnerable citizens); his manifesto also spoke of the need to adopt a multidimensional view of poverty and proposed to classify low-income families registered in the state’s database (the Cadastro Único) according to six risk levels to attend better to the needs of vulnerable families. He reiterated his promise to retain other social policies, including affirmative action.

On the issue of education, Aécio’s manifesto promised full-day schooling, private school scholarships for poor students, a bonus for students to finish high school to fight high drop out rates, incentives for high school dropouts to return to school (including paying them the minimum wage, more choice for students in secondary schools and strategically-focused professional education/training in high-demand sectors with good employment prospects. In health care, he promised to increase spending to 10% of the overall budget to build 500 new clinics and improve the government’s Mais Médicos programs. His promises on environmental issues were largely generic stuff – transition to a low carbon economy, sustainable development in public policies, conservation of biodiversity, reducing deforestation, fighting illegal logging although with an added focus on the issue of water security.

Aécio’s plan for political reform promised an end to consecutive reelection of the President, governors and mayor (Dilma also supported it), five-year terms, a mixed voting system, reintroducing the ‘threshold’ laws limiting small parties’ access to congressional representation, funding and TV airtime. While Dilma proposed a plebiscite on political reform, Aécio said that reform should come from Congress, which could decide whether or not to hold a plebiscite.

Eduardo Campos announced his candidacy to the presidency for the PSB in October 2013. At the same time, after she failed to register her new political party, Marina Silva announced that she would join the PSB, having found an agreement with the party. In November 2013, Campos confirmed that he would be the PSB-led coalition’s presidential candidate, putting an end to speculation that Marina could be the party’s candidate. In April 2014, Marina Silva was confirmed as Eduardo Campos’ running-mate.

Although Eduardo Campos left office with sky-high approval ratings in Pernambuco and most saw him as a competent and ambitious politician, he failed to take off in the polls – he polled only 8% to 11% in May and June 2014, a distant third behind Dilma (in the driver’s seat with 38-40%) and Aécio (with mediocre numbers between 19% and 24%). However, Campos was only using his 2014 candidacy as a springboard for a much stronger run in 2018.

On August 13, the Cessna Citation 560 XLS+ carrying Eduardo Campos and six other people crashed due to poor weather conditions as it was attempting to land in Santos (SP). All 7 passengers on board died in the crash. The accident and Campos’ tragic death sent shockwaves through the country and shook up the election. The PSB-led coalition had ten days to choose a new candidate and, as was widely expected, it selected Marina Silva to replace Eduardo Campos. She chose five-term federal deputy and Campos loyalist Beto Albuquerque (PSB-RS) as her running-mate.

The PSB-led coalition included, besides the PSB, the Popular Socialist Party (Partido Popular Socialista, PPS); originally the ‘eurocommunist’ reformist dissident group of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) led by Roberto Freire which had been in the centre-right opposition bloc since 2003; the Social Liberal Party (Partido Social Liberal, PSL), a very small social liberal centre-right party; the Humanist Party of Solidarity (Partido Humanista da Solidariedade, PHS), a tiny Christian democratic party; the Free Homeland Party (Partido Pátria Livre, PPL), a party founded in 2011 from remnants of the old far-left armed guerrilla Revolutionary Movement 8th of October (MR8) and the Progressive Republican Party (Partido Republicano Progressista, PPR), a tiny irrelevance.

Marina Silva was born in 1958 in the remote Amazonian state of Acre, the daughter of impoverished rubber tappers. She grew up in poverty, lost her mother at 15, suffered from several health problems in her youth and began working on rubber plantations at the age of 10. She grew up in the tradition of legendary Acrean rubber tapper Chico Mendes, a union leader who was one of the founders of the CUT and PT in Acre. Chico Mendes and rubber tappers in Acre had a strong environmental conscience, aware of the threat posed to their livelihoods by deforestation. In the footsteps of her political mentor Chico Mendes, Marina joined the PT in 1986 and was an unsuccessful PT candidate for Congress alongside Mendes in 1986. She was elected as municipal councillor in Rio Branco, the state capital, in 1988 and moved up to state deputy in Acre in 1990. In 1994, Marina was elected to the Senate from Acre and was reelected to a second term in 2002. As noted above, Marina joined Lula’s cabinet in January 2003 as his Minister of the Environment, an office she held until May 2008, when she resigned to protest the government’s environmental policies. In 2009, she left the PT to join the Greens and ran as their presidential candidate in 2010. In 2011, she left the PV. Marina converted to evangelical Christianity (Assembly of God) in 1997. As a result of her evangelical Protestant beliefs, Marina has socially conservative views on hot-button cultural issues: in 2010, she opposed embryonic stem cell research, same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization and the decriminalization of abortion.

Marina surged in the aftermath of her nomination as Campos’ replacement. She breezed past Aécio and was in a statistical tie for first with Dilma by the end of August and she took a solid lead over the incumbent in a runoff scenario. As Aécio’s bland and mediocre campaign floundered in August and early-to-mid September, Marina became Dilma’s main rival and she posed a very serious threat to the President’s reelection hopes. Aécio’s campaign looked like it was effectively throwing in the towel, focusing on shoring up the PSDB in state-level races while hoping that Aécio’s votes which would flow to Marina in the runoff would give the PSDB a strong position to negotiate a deal with her.

Marina’s platform had a heavy focus on political reform – she promised a ‘high-intensity democracy’, which seems to be a cool sophisticated way of saying a less corrupt, more ‘participative’ democracy. She too promised to abolish reelection, single five-year terms, aligned local and general electoral calendars (local elections are currently held 2 years after the general federal/state elections), electoral reform (quite vague on the preferred system), more direct democracy with more referendums/plebiscites and the chance for more popular initiatives, transparent campaign finance laws and a reform of TV airtime regulations. The coalition also proposed to ‘rationalize’ the presence of the public sector, reducing costs but increasing the quality of services, reduced expenditure with the use of PPPs, bringing in NPM-style reforms to the public sector (goals, indicators, performance evaluation, accountability and efficiency), channels for interaction between the public sector and citizens and sustainable/eco-friendly practices in public administration. Like Aécio, she called on a ‘new federalism’, by transferring more tax revenues to the states and municipalities and creating new spaces for dialogue and intergovernmental cooperation.

Marina’s platform on economic issues was fairly right-leaning – criticizing the high tax burden, advocating less government intervention, creating conditions for more private investment (and reducing government subsidies granted through the BNDES), a friendlier business climate (by ending discretionary government policies), calls for greater economic competitiveness on global markets, promises for tax reform (not raising taxes, cutting taxes on investments, more progressive taxation and simplifying tax laws) and calls for greater private provision of credit. However, it also promised to reduce inequality (to a Gini index value of 0.5 in 2018, from 0.53 today) by maintaining and expanding current social programs such as Bolsa Família, criticized Dilma for the drastic decrease in the pace of agrarian reform, promised to distribute land to 85,000 families waiting for land, promised to integrate those living from subsistence agriculture on minifúndios into the agricultural economy and called for broader agricultural insurance to protect against market risks. Marina, like Aécio, called for more investments in infrastructure and a major expansion of infrastructure through PPPs, concessions and direct private investment.

The platform had a green tint, with a major focus on energy policy, where Marina called for more renewable energies in the electricity mix (notably solar power), carbon pricing in the energy sector, better management of supply and demand to avoid rationing, less consumption of fossil fuels and liberalization of the energy market. On wider environmental issues, the coalition’s platform urged immediate action against deforestation, fulfilling international commitments, expanding the area of planted forests by 40%, forcing public agencies to meet GHG emissions targets, providing incentives for low-carbon agriculture and the creation of a ‘Brazilian Market for Emissions Reduction’. Environmental issues, however, were not a key focus of her campaign and many critics found her environmental policies to be uninspiring.

On the issue of education, Marina promised to prioritize comprehensive education in primary schools (for more on this Brazilian concept, see this link in Portuguese), provide universal early childhood education for children ages 4-5, expand access to post-secondary education, accelerate plans to devote 10% of GDP to education, improve teachers’ conditions and pay (one half in relation to the growth of federal budget expenditures for education and the second half tied to teacher performance) and increase R&D spending.

On social policy issues, Marina promised to maintain and expand the Bolsa Família to another 10 million families, adopt a multidimensional view of poverty, gradually increase healthcare spending to 10% of federal revenues, build 100 new hospitals and to increase the number of hospital beds including through contracts with private providers.

Urban policy was the fifth main ‘axis’ of her campaign. She promised to expand the government’s Minha Casa Minha Vida housing program by building 4 million houses by 2018, push states and municipalities to provide infrastructure to these new neighborhoods, implement policies guaranteeing universal access to sanitation (40 million lack access to treated water, 119 million live without a sewage network), improve waste collection, implement a program (with all levels of government) to build 1,000km of LRT and dedicated bus lanes by 2018 in cities with over 200k inhabitants, create a federal program to implement free transit for students (‘free pass’) and push for non-motorized transportation. On security issues, Marina proposed the implementation of a National Plan to Reduce Homicides and a Pact for Life (modeled on the successful anti-crime programs in Pernambuco), strengthen the federal police, increase spending on public safety and stronger coordination of law enforcement efforts.

The final axis of Marina Silva’s platform was human rights, detailing her vision for the state’s relationships to human rights groups, youth, women, LGBT communities, disabled people, traditional communities, minorities, indigenous peoples, quilombolas, blacks (Afro-Brazilians), new social movements and trade unions. In concrete terms, the manifesto talked about promoting regional integration programs geared towards the youth, adoption of the ‘free pass’ (see above), adopting mechanisms to tackle discrimination against women in the labour market (formalization of women’s work and enhanced oversight of the Ministry of Labour to guarantee equal pay for equal work), expanding the range of services offered to women (such as efforts to expand women entrepreneurship), sex-ed in schools, concerted actions to protect women from violence, the recognition of quilombos and indigenous land rights and less state intervention in the arbitration of labour disputes.

On LGBT issues, Marina’s manifesto became the heart of a firestorm early in her campaign. The initial version of the platform, released on August 29, included explicit support for same-sex marriage and for PL 122 (pending legislation to criminalize homophobia and ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity); the next day, a ‘revised’ version released by the campaign removed any mention of support for same-sex marriage (instead ‘guaranteeing the rights arising from civil unions’ – which already exist) and PL 122, and taming down the language on gay adoption rights (from ‘remove the barriers to the adoption of children by homosexual couples’ to ‘giving equal treatment to all adoptive couples’). The manifesto retained calls to tackle homophobia and to back congressional approval of a gender identity bill backed by openly gay federal deputy and LGBT rights activist Jean Wyllys (PSOL-RJ). Marina’s campaign claimed that the initial draft was a mistake, because it didn’t reflect the ‘mediation between the ideas of the various persons which contributed to its formulation’ (read: it didn’t reflect Marina’s beliefs) – it thus deflected accusations of flip-flopping by claiming that Marina didn’t change her mind because she never endorsed gay marriage. LGBT groups were livid at the campaign’s stance. Marina likely backtracked on LGBT rights because of the strong opposition of evangelical pastor/televangelist Silas Malafaia, who is a strong opponent of gay marriage and PL 122, as well as the hostility of the congressional ‘evangelical bench’ – evangelicals, obviously, being a key element of Marina’s personal electoral clientele. Dilma was the only major candidate who support PL 122.

Luciana Genro was the candidate of the radical left PSOL. Luciana Genro is the 43-year old daughter of Tarso Genro (PT-RS), a former mayor of Porto Alegre and governor of Rio Grande do Sul. Originally a member of the PT like her father, she was elected to the state legislature under the petista flag in 1994 and 1998 and then to the Chamber in 2002. Already a member of the PT’s radical/left-wing for quite some time, Luciana Genro quickly became increasingly unhappy with the moderate direction of the Lula government and she was expelled from the PT along with Heloísa Helena and other after rebelling against the party line on a pension reform vote. She was a founding member of the PSOL in 2005 and was reelected to the Chamber of Deputies from Rio Grande do Sul in 2006. In the Chamber, Luciana pushed for taxes on banks and the implementation of a wealth tax, created on paper by the 1988 Constitution but never created by legislators. She was defeated in 2010, largely because of the ridiculous intricacies of the electoral system.

Luciana ran on a very left-wing platform. On economic issues, the PSOL called for lower interest rates, an audit of the debt (against primary surpluses), capital flow controls, tax reform (wealth tax, closing tax loopholes and concessions for businesses), repeal of the fiscal responsibility law (replacing it with a social investment law forcing governments to invest in public services), reindustrialization, low-interest loans and revision of privatizations. On social services, Luciana promised increased public spending on healthcare and education, no privatization in healthcare, regulation of private insurance, patent law reform, free pharmacare, expansion of public education, a massive increase in the minimum wage, introduction of maximum salaries, 40-hour workweek, urban reform (fighting real estate speculation and forced evictions, expropriation of idle land and long-term vacant properties for public housing, reducing costs of rent, guaranteeing public transit as a right, increased spending on transit, expansion of public transit (including non-motorized alternatives) and increased pensions. She also called for the creation of a public broadcaster, a right to internet access, reducing monopolies in the media and the cancellation of TV/radio licenses granted to elected officials. On environmental issues, she supported the repeal of all decrees allowing the use of pesticides, suspending the release of GMOs, a zero deforestation goal, universal access to sanitation, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, renewable energies (including solar power), state control over generation and distribution of electricity and reducing energy waste. The platform also supported agrarian reform.

The PSOL took much more socially liberal/libertarian stances than any of the three major parties. Luciana’s platform supported same-sex marriage, criminalization of homophobia, PSOL deputy Jean Wyllys’ gender identity bill, anti-homophobia education (dropped by Dilma’s government due to evangelical opposition), legalization of abortion on demand in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (currently banned except in the cases of rape, maternal life or fetuses with anencephaly) covered by the SUS, pay equity, state secularism, decriminalization of marijuana, demilitarization of the police, tackling police brutality, abolishing all remaining forms of torture, a revision of penitentiary policy and full commitment to human rights (including, as a key aspect, upholding the right to strike and freedom of assembly).

On the issue of political reform, Luciana called for a constituent assembly, public campaign financing, the possibility of recall, open-list (but pre-ordered list) proportional representation to strengthen ideological parties and the introduction of direct democracy mechanisms (referendum, plebiscite, popular initiative, participatory budget-making).

Eduardo Jorge was the candidate of the Green Party (PV). Jorge was a four-term PT federal deputy between 1987 and 2003, who joined the PV in 2003. Sustainable development, clean energy, protection of the Amazon and Atlantic littoral forest, zero deforestation, greatly developing solar energy, congestion pricing in cities and energy efficiency were some of the Greens’ key priorities. Political reform also ranked high on their agenda – calling for a unicameral legislature with fewer seats, direct democracy, MMP, voluntary voting, a new plebiscite on parliamentarianism (Brazil voted in favour of a presidential republic in 1993), a reduction in the number of ministries to 14, less government agencies/commissions and splitting government revenues equally between all three levels of government. Eduardo Jorge supported the current macroeconomic framework (primary surplus, inflation targeting, floating exchange rate and fiscal responsibility) and further called for tax simplification (and no tax increases), lower interest rates, pension reform (with a single system for both public and private employees – with pension caps and recognizing the need to explore the possibility of more contributions and a higher retirement age) and more attention to healthcare and education. Despite this fairly liberal economic policy, it also supported maintaining current social programs and reducing working time (40hrs/week). Like Luciana (PSOL), Eduardo Jorge defended a very socially liberal agenda – human rights, indigenous rights, gay marriage/adoption, Afro-Brazilian rights, demilitarization of the police, animal rights/vegetarianism, decriminalization of marijuana, a less repressive criminal policy (especially on the drug war issues) and pacifism.

Pastor Everaldo, an evangelical (Assemblies of God) pastor from Rio de Janeiro, was the candidate of the small right-wing Christian Social Party (PSC). Everaldo ran on a right-wing platform promoting family values, free market economics, less bureaucracy and a stronger national defense. He attracted the most attention (and controversy) because of his very vocal socially conservative positions – he is loathed by feminists and LGBT activists because he is strongly pro-life, anti-gay marriage and anti-drug legalization. That being said, Everaldo was sentenced in first instance (in 2012) to pay damages to his ex-wife for moral and material damage and has also been accused by his ex-wife of physical assault and death threats (which he claimed was in self-defense).

Levy Fidelix was the candidate, as in 2010, of the tiny right-wing Brazilian Labour Renewal Party (Partido Renovador Trabalhista Brasileiro, PRTB), which he founded in 1992 (as the PTRB). Something of a perennial candidate, Levy Fidelix has run for some kind of office in every election since 1996 (including local elections) and ran for President in 2010, where he won 0.06%. In all his candidacies, this one included, he is often known for his proposals for a monorail/bullet train between Campinas (SP) and Rio and monorails in major cities. In 2014, he also called for financial/tax reform, the creation of R$510 family wage to replace social programs and the construction of a dozen planned cities in the Centre-West. However, this year, Levy Fidelix grabbed attention and sparked a major controversy for his homophobic statements during a televised debate. Asked by Luciana Genro (PSOL) why ‘family value’ politicians refused to defend same-sex couple families, Levy Fidelix went off on an homophobic rant. He argued that reproduction doesn’t happen through the excretory system (a reference to anal sex), associated homosexuality and pedophilia, claimed that homosexuality was contagious, considered homosexuals to be mentally ill, claimed that homosexuals needed psychological care and said that homosexuals were better kept away from ‘us’. The three main candidates later condemned his statements (but didn’t challenge him on them during the debate); the PSOL, PV and the government’s Secretariat for Human Rights filed charges against.

José Maria Eymael ran for President for the fourth time (previously in 1998, 2006 and 2010), under the banner of his small Christian Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrata Cristão, PSDC), a right-wing party claiming inspiration from European Christian democracy. Eymael’s best result was 0.25% in 1998, and won only 0.06% (his lowest vote) in 2010. Eymael’s main claim to fame remains his popular and catchy 1985 campaign jingle Ey Ey Eymael, um democrata cristão (the popularity of which allowed him to be elected to the constituent assembly in 1986). His platform is usually generic Christian democratic in orientation, although more socially conservative than European Christian democracy.

Finally, there were three small far-left candidates. There was José ‘Zé’ Maria de Almeida‘s fourth candidacy for the Trotskyst United Socialist Workers’ Party (Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado, PSTU), a party born in the 1990s from the Trot faction of the PT. Zé Maria supported nationalization of the financial sector, privatized companies and natural resources; higher taxes on the rich; expropriation and nationalization of the banks; decriminalization of drugs and expropriation of latifúndios. Mauro Iasi, a feminist university professor, ran for the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) – which is currently a very small, hard-left Marxist-Leninist party. He supported mass nationalizations (energy, mines, communications, natural resources, transport etc.), higher taxes on the rich, nationalization of public transit to make it free, legalization of abortion, ‘radical direct democracy’, ‘popular education’, agrarian reform and defaulting on the public debt. Rui Costa Pimenta ran for a fourth time as the candidate of the Workers’ Cause Party (Partido da Causa Operária, PCO), another Trot party. He supported similar far-left policies including huge minimum wage increases, nationalizations, high taxes on the rich, land expropriations, legalization of abortion plus the lovely idea of replacing the police/military by ‘popular militias’ (yeah, that would work out well!).

National Results – October 6, 2014

Marina Silva’s wave peaked at the end of August, when he was tied with Dilma in a first round poll, 34% to 34%, with Aécio way back at 15%. Her first round support tapered off somewhat in early and mid-September, allowing Dilma to retake a narrow first round lead, but as Aécio failed to bridge the gap with Marina, she remained the favourite to face Dilma in the runoff. She continued to hold a narrow lead over Dilma until September 20 or so, when she lost the lead in the runoff.

Marina faced unrelenting and harsh attacks from both of her opponents, but particularly Dilma, who attacked her on policy issues but also by using fear tactics claiming (falsely) that Marina would destroy social programs and that she would hand power to bankers and international financial organizations (the unpopular IMF) by guaranteeing the Central Bank’s autonomy. Although Marina’s economic stances were close to those of the PSDB, her stances on other issues were close to that of the PT. She could have siphoned off left-wing voters by playing on her more left-wing environmental and indigenous rights stances, but she chose to focus exclusively on anti-PT voters and therefore mostly emphasized her more right-wing economic views. This made Dilma’s somewhat dishonest attacks alleging that Marina was a conservative more effective.

Dilma also highlighted Marina’s weak partisan base of support, and compared her to former Presidents Jânio Quadros (1961) and Fernando Collor (1990-1992). Quadros was a bizarre, eccentric and wacky populist politician who enjoyed a whirlwind rise to power in the 1950s (from local councillor to President within 10 years); he was elected to the presidency on a moralistic, populist anti-corruption platform in 1960 with the right’s (opportunistic) support but quickly turned out to be quite different to what they had hoped for by embracing a non-aligned foreign policy and meeting Che Guevara. After an extremely bizarre 207 days in office, Jânio got in a drunken stupor and resigned suddenly (lo and behold, Jânio made a political comeback in 1985 by defeating FHC for mayor of São Paulo by claiming FHC was a pot-smoking atheist who would put weed in school lunches). Collor, like Jânio, lacked a substantial personal base of support (Collor’s party, the PRN, won only 40 seats in Congress in 1990) and his government relied on the support of right-wing parties in Congress (PFL, PDS, PTB, PL) who were not totally reliable (especially by the end). By comparing Marina to Jânio and Collor, Dilma warned voters that Marina would lack a strong base of support in Congress. Marina herself, after riding a wave of sympathy for Campos and popular connection to her life story, and after putting up a strong performances in TV interviews and debates, began to stumble and made amateur mistakes. Aécio also attacked her, notably over her inexperience and tried to wean right-wing voters away from her by reminding them that Marina had been in the PT for 25 years. Although Aécio and Marina had similar platforms, Aécio began to sell himself as a more experienced and tested leader who also had a stronger partisan base of support.

Marina having lost the momentum, her support in the polls collapsed in the final week of the campaign. In Ibope on September 20-22, she trailed Dilma by 9 in the first round (38-29, 19% Aécio); in Datafolha on September 25-26, she trailed Dilma by 13 (40-27, 18% Aécio); in Datafolha on September 29-30, she trailed by 15 in the first round and the gap with Aécio was cut down to only 5% (40-25-20), a poll on October 1-2 from the same pollster showed the gap with Aécio down to 3% (24-21). The last two polls from Ibope and Datafolha, released on October 3-4, showed that Aécio had taken back second place, and led Marina by 3% and 2% respectively in the first round. Dilma polled 40%, while Aécio polled 24%. In runoff polls, Marina lost her lead over Dilma beginning on September 25-26, and by the time of the first round, she was trailing Dilma by a consequential margin in an hypothetical runoff. As Brazilians headed to the polls on October 6, Marina’s impressive momentum had totally collapsed and it looked like the runoff would be an anticlimactic Dilma/Aécio runoff (with Dilma heavily favoured).


Turnout in the first round was 80.61%.

Dilma Rousseff (PT) 41.59%
Aécio Neves (PSDB) 33.55%
Marina Silva (PSB) 21.32%
Luciana Genro (PSOL) 1.55%
Pastor Everaldo (PSC) 0.75%
Eduardo Jorge (PV) 0.61%
Levy Fidelix (PRTB) 0.43%
José Maria de Almeida (PSTU) 0.09%
José Maria Eymael (PSDC) 0.06%
Mauro Iasi (PCB) 0.05%
Rui Costa Pimenta (PCO) 0.01%

Blank votes 5.8%
Invalid votes 3.84%

Brazil 2014 - r1

Chamber of Deputies

Compared to dissolution

PT 70 seats (-17)
PMDB 66 seats (-5)
PSDB 54 seats (+9)
PSD 37 seats (-8)
PP 36 seats (-4)
PR 34 seats (+3)
PSB 34 seats (+9)
PTB 25 seats (-7)
DEM 22 seats (-6)
PRB 21 seats (+11)
PDT 19 seats (+1)
SD 15 seats (-6)
PSC 12 seats (nc)
PROS 11 seats (-9)
PCdoB 10 seats (-5)
PPS 10 seats (+4)
PV 8 seats (nc)
PHS 5 seats (+5)
PSOL 5 seats (+2)
PTN 4 seats (+4)
PMN 3 seats (nc)
PRP 3 seats (+1)
PEN 2 seats (+1)
PSDC 2 seats (+2)
PTC 2 seats (+2)
PRTB 1 seat (+1)
PSL 1 seat (+1)
PTdoB 1 seat (-2)
Source: G1 Eleições 2014


Compared to dissolution

PMDB 18 seats (-1) – 5 elected
PT 12 seats (-1) – 2 elected
PSDB 10 seats (-2) – 4 elected
PSB 6 seats (+3) – 3 elected
PDT 6 seats (+2) – 4 elected
PP 5 seats (nc) – 1 elected
DEM 5 seats (+1) – 3 elected
PSD 4 seats (+2) – 2 elected
PR 4 seats (nc) – 1 elected
PTB 3 seats (-3) – 2 elected
PCdoB 1 seat (-1) – 0 elected
PSOL 1 seat (nc) – 0 elected
PPS 1 seat (nc) – 0 elected
PRB 1 seat (nc) – 0 elected
PV 1 seat (nc) – 0 elected
PSC 1 seat (nc)- 0 elected
PROS 1 seat (nc) – 0 elected
SD 1 seat (nc) – 0 elected
Source: UOL Eleições

Despite the impression that the first round would be quite anticlimactic after the crazy ups-and-downs of the campaign – particularly Marina’s surge and subsequent collapse, and Aécio’s campaign never getting off the ground – the first round of the presidential election reserved its share of surprises. As expected, Dilma and Aécio qualified for the runoff, while Marina Silva ended a mediocre third. However, the results of the two main candidates were unexpected: Dilma, at 41.6%, was significantly weaker than expected (excluding the undecideds, polling suggested that Dilma would win about 45-47%); Aécio, with 33.6%, was extremely strong compared to his polling numbers in the last polls let alone his polling numbers a mere week or two before the election.

Aécio’s performance was quite remarkable. He overperformed his final polling numbers (from October 4) by nearly 10%, and gained about 15% compared to where he stood a week before the election (at 20% and in third). 10 to 15 days before the first round, Aécio was still considered dead in the water.

Marina Silva, with 21.3%, placed a mediocre and disappointing third – although it was about where the last polls, from October 3-4, had pegged her. Ultimately, Marina was the victim of both her own poor campaign and virulent attacks from both her opponents, but particularly Dilma. Dilma’s brazenly negative campaign against Marina succeeded in substantially increasing Marina’s ‘rejection numbers’ (in Brazilian polls, the number of people who ‘reject’ – ie would never vote for – a candidate) from about 10% to 20%, while the government’s positive ratings improved from about 34% to 39%. However, from the results of the first round, it appears that Marina’s lost voters flowed en masse to Aécio rather than Dilma – something which, naturally, makes sense given that Marina’s surge was built by anti-PT/anti-Dilma voters who were hesitating between which candidate to support. Marina, when she looked to be the strongest (and only) alternative to Dilma/the PT, right-wing/anti-Dilma voters flocked to her; however, she failed to lock them down by convincing them why she’d make a better President than Aécio, so when she started losing her momentum, they defected to Aécio.

Marina was also hurt by differences in candidates’ TV airtime in the first round: because Dilma’s coalition had the support of large parties such as the PT, PMDB, PSD, PP and PR, she had 11:24 minutes of free airtime in the first round campaign, compared to 4:35 minutes for Aécio and only 2:03 minutes for Marina. Dilma used her airtime advantage to attack Marina.

That the presidential races in the last 20 years have all opposed a candidate from the PT representing ‘the left’ and one from the PSDB representing ‘the right’ (whether they like it or not) gives a superficial appearance of stability in Brazilian political choices at the top level. In reality, as this election showed, Brazilian voters at the presidential level are just as elastic and fickle as they are at the congressional, state and local levels.

Dilma, with 41.6%, had a fairly mediocre result in the first round. Dilma, as the incumbent with a mixed record, was naturally the most polarizing candidate in this race – polls regularly showed her to have a strong, resilient base of support in the 40% range, but her ‘rejection’ numbers were nearly as strong in the 35-40% range, meaning that over 40% of voters would never vote for her while another 40% were certain to vote for her. Her underperformance in the first round hit her campaign badly, as Aécio came out of the first round with a huge boost in momentum because of his strong numbers.

Indeed, as first round numbers flowed in, it became clear that Dilma would face a much closer and tougher runoff battle than was widely expected, as a result of Aécio’s surprisingly strong showing. With such high rejection numbers and the strength of the anti-PT strategic voters bloc, she was seriously vulnerable to Aécio. In 2010, Marina Silva’s voters had broken by a significant, although not huge, margin for José Serra (the PSDB candidate); in 2014, it was expected that they would break heavily for Aécio, and unlike in 2010, it was widely assumed after the first round that Marina would officially endorse Aécio.

Luciana Genro, the PSOL candidate, did fairly well with 1.6% of the vote – up from 0.87% in 2010. The main winner among the smaller candidates, however, was Levy Fidelix – he won 0.43% and 446,878 votes, up significantly from 0.06% and 57,960 votes in 2010. This strong result, of course, followed the national and international publicity he got for his crazy homophobic rant on the debate (‘reproduction can’t happen through the anus’).

Marina endorsed Aécio Neves on October 12. Eduardo Jorge (PV), Pastor Everaldo (PSC) and Levy Fidelix (PRTB) also endorsed Aécio. State-level candidates including gubernatorial favourites Rodrigo Rollemberg (PSB-DF) and José Ivo Sartori (PMDB-RS) or senator-elect Romário (PSB-RJ) also endorsed Aécio during the runoff campaign. Aécio successfully managed, for once, to unite the PSDB behind his candidacy after the first round success – former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, somewhat placed aside by the PSDB in the last few cycles, regained a more prominent position in Aécio’s campaign; José Serra, elected to the Senate from São Paulo, actively supported Aécio; Governor Geraldo Alckmin, one of the main winners of the first round with his landslide reelection in São Paulo, also actively supported Aécio (likely because Aécio promised to abolish reelection). Brazilian football star Neymar also endorsed Aécio. In a much stranger twist, Aécio received unlikely ‘endorsements’ from American actress Lindsay Lohan and English supermodel Naomi Campbell – although Lindsay Lohan’s Twitter and Facebook posts were quickly taken down (it seems that the ‘endorsements’ were part of a paid advertising deal with a Brazilian company which does that sort of thing).

On the left, Luciana (PSOL) did not endorse anybody but called to vote against Aécio. Jean Wyllys (PSOL-RJ) endorsed Dilma and recorded an ad for her.

Datafolha and Ibope’s first polls after the first round, conducted on October 7-8 and 8-9 respectively, gave Aécio a narrow and inconclusive 2-point lead over Dilma; or a 51-49 lead in the valid votes. Their second wave of polls, conducted on October 12-14 (after Marina’s endorsement), showed him retaining a 2-point lead.

Dilma fired back with unrelenting attacks against Aécio, on a number of themes. Some attacks highlighted Aécio’s reputation as a patrician playboy – with allegations that he has used cocaine in the past (obviously, with Lindsay Lohan ‘endorsing’ him, that brought out a lot of easy jokes) and that he beat his model girlfriend Leticia Weber before they got married (a likely false rumour). Dilma ran an ad in which she claimed Aécio had “difficulties respecting women” – because he called Luciana and Dilma leviana, a word (not used often, it seems) which means imprudent or acting irresponsibly or hypocritically, and claimed that he had been disrespectful towards Dilma in a second round debate.

Other attacks concerned corruption and nepotism allegations from his time as governor of Minas Gerais – Dilma’s campaign accused him of building two airports in small towns where his relatives owned land and of employing dozens of his cousins and other relatives in state agencies and government jobs. Aécio failed to respond adequately to the airport and nepotism issues, arrogantly responding that the airports issue was a non-issue. There was also the case of the helicopter from Aécio’s company, Agropecuaria Limeira, filled with 450kg of cocaine which was seized by the Federal Police late last year (cue more jokes about LiLo). The helicopter belonged to state deputy Gustavo Perrella (SD-MG), the son of Senator Zezé Perrella (PDT-MG); both allies of Aécio Neves. Finally, other attacks concerned Aécio’s policy and political record as governor – accusations that Aécio’s government in MG cut healthcare and teacher’s pay (a rather egregious twisting of the truth), claims that Aécio voted against a minimum wage raise (he did, but only because he wanted a higher one than what was proposed) and the PT’s typical scare tactics that Aécio/the PSDB would abolish social programs. She also warned that Aécio’s ‘management shock’ would lead to job loses and cuts. Overall, Dilma’s rhetorically left-wing campaign was successful in driving home the idea that Aécio was the candidate of the elitist, pro-rich, pro-bankers conservative right. At times, Aécio did nothing to challenge this image – by attacking Dilma and even Lula’s record, he seemed to deny the very real progress made by the country and particularly by the poorest Brazilians in the past 12 years. His talk of ‘liberating’ the country from PT rule was very effective in playing to the base, which loathes the PT, but drove pro-PT and some swing voters away. Aécio’s close association with Armínio Fraga, the conservative President of the Central Bank under FHC who was set to become Aécio’s finance minister, also reinforced the image of Aécio as the candidate of an elitist conservative right.

Dilma’s negative campaign further alienated her existing critics, who accused her of dirty campaigning (a la Collor 1989) and of turning increasingly to the left and polarizing the country further in the process.

Datafolha polls on October 20 and 21 showed that Dilma had successfully reversed the situation, taking a 3 and 4-point lead respectively over Aécio (or a 52-48 lead in valid votes). Ibope, in the field from October 2o to 22, showed a 54-46 advantage for the President in valid votes (49-41); Datafolha on October 22-23 showed a 53-47 lead for Dilma.

On the other hand, the second round was also dominated with coverage of a developing political scandal at Petrobras, the oil giant. The anti-government Veja newsmagazine has relayed news and juicy details of the scandal, beginning with a March 2014 Federal Police operation (operação Lava Jato) which revealed a complex money laundering and tax evasion scheme. Shell companies belonging to Alberto Youssef  received millions in unexplained deposits from some of the biggest companies in the country (who have big contracts with the federal government), money which was later transferred to parties and politicians – the same politicians who had appointed the bureaucrats who hired the contractors paying the bribes. Youssef’s clients included three of the most important parties – the PT, the PMDB and the PP. Paulo Roberto Costa, Petrobras’ former director of procurement (2004-2002), was also at the heart of this scheme and was arrested in March 2014. In September 2014, he revealed to the Federal Police the names of politicians who had received bribes from the contracts: his names included the President of the Chamber of Deputies Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB-RN), President of the Senate Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL), Minister of Mines and Energy Edison Lobão (PMDB-MA), PP president Ciro Nogueira (PP-PI) and federal deputy Cândido Vaccarezza (PT-SP). He also claimed that the PT received 3% of the value of the contracts from the services, gas and energy and services directorates in Petrobras, as well as 2% from procurement contracts. The PP also received 1% of the value of contracts from the procurement directorate. In the last days before the second round, Veja hit the newsstands with an attention-grabbing headline claiming that Dilma and Lula knew everything (according to Youssef spilling the beans to the cops) and that Dilma used some of the illegal cash to finance her 2010 campaign. Dilma’s TV ads claimed that it was merely part of Veja‘s time-honoured tactics of dropping a ‘huge’ scandal on the PT when they were ahead in the final days (the magazine, in the past, had accused the PT of having received money from the FARC, among other things).

The last few juicy details from Youssef in the Petrobras scandal did tighten up the numbers in the last polls somewhat: Ibope showed Dilma leading 53-47 in the valid votes in their last poll (October 24-25), while Datafolha had her ahead 52-48 in a poll conducted on those same dates. Dilma was the favourite heading into the runoff, but the election promised to be tighter than any presidential runoff in the past.

The first round was also on a regional basis, as is the norm in Brazilian presidential elections since 2010. Dilma triumphed in the Nordeste, winning 59.4% in the region against 21.3% for Marina and only 17% for Aécio. The one exception to this triumph was Pernambuco, Eduardo Campos’ home state, where Marina narrowly defeated Dilma – 48.1% to 44.2%, leaving Aécio with only 5.9%. In the 2010 first round, Dilma had won 61.7% of the vote in Pernambuco. In the Northeastern states of Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Alagoas and Sergipe, Dilma actually improved on her first round numbers from 2010. In the states of Bahia (61.4% for Dilma) and Maranhão (69.6%), Dilma’s 2014 results on October 6 were only 1% or so below what she had won in 2010.

On the other hand, Aécio did very well in the traditionally right-leaning states of the South and Southeast – in those regions he won 48% and 36.5%, against 35.5% and 34.5% for Dilma respectively. Aécio recorded very strong results in São Paulo, where he won 44.2% in the first round against 25.8% for Dilma, who suffered an 11.5% loss from 2010 in SP. In Paraná and Santa Catarina, Dilma also suffered substantial loses from 2010 while Aécio improved significantly on José Serra’s 2010 first round numbers: +5.9% in Paraná and +7.1% in Santa Catarina, which was his best state in the first round (with 52.9%). Dilma narrowly won the key swing state/bellwether of Minas Gerais in the first round, 43.5% to 39.8% for Aécio, although Aécio’s home state advantage allowed him to improve on Serra’s 2010 performance by no less than 9% in MG. In Rio de Janeiro, a left-leaning state, Dilma won 35.6% against 31.1% for Marina and 26.9% for Aécio; compared to 2010, Dilma’s vote fell by 8.1% in RJ and the PSDB’s support increased by 4.4%.

In the Centre-West, Aécio won 40.9% against 33% for Dilma. She suffered major loses in Goiás (-10.1%) and the DF (-8.7%), and more limited loses in the right-leaning states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. In 2010, Marina had won the DF by over ten points (42% to 31.7%) against Dilma; this year, Aécio narrowly defeated Marina in the DF, 36.1% to 35.8%, with only 23% for Dilma. In the North, Dilma won 44.6% against 31.1% for Aécio. She actually improved on her 2010 results in Amapá, Pará, Roraima, Rondônia and Acre; but in Amazonas, where she won 65% in the first round in 2010, her support fell to 54.9%. Marina won her home state of Acre (which she had lost in 2010), with 42% against 29.1% for Aécio and 28% for Dilma; she mostly won through right-wing votes, given that the PSDB vote fell by 22.9% in Acre from 2010.

Marina’s vote, with the exception of Pernambuco and Acre, was somewhat evenly distributed across the regions and the states – she won 24.7% in the Southeast (with over 25% in SP, RJ and Espírito Santo), 23.2% in the Centre-West, 21.4% in the North, 21.3% in the Nordeste but only 12.8% in the South. Marina placed distant seconds ahead of Aécio in the Northeastern states of Bahia, Maranhão, Piauí and Alagoas – although in these cases, her results came at the expense of Aécio, given that Dilma improved on her 2010 showings in much of the region. Marina also performed well in the cities – 31.1% (and first place) in Rio, 23.9% in São Paulo, 25.5% in Salvador, 22.9% in Fortaleza, 63.3% in Recife and 29.2% in Manaus. In 2010, Marina’s urban support had been predominantly middle-class and well-educated, but in 2014, Marina did quite well in poorer areas. In Rio, for example, Marina was strongest in the poorer districts in the north of the city, while Aécio’s support was concentrated in the upscale seaside southern neighborhoods (upper-class areas such as Gávea, Leblon, Ipanema, Barra da Tijuca and Copacabana). Outside of Rio, Marina also did better in poorer working-class suburban municipalities such as Duque de Caxias (31.1%), Nova Iguaçu (32.9%), São João de Meriti (34.8%) and Nilópolis (35.7%) than in middle-class Niterói (29.1%). In suburban São Paulo, Marina also did better in the industrial ABC belt municipalities (traditional PT strongholds, very much eroded this year) – 27.5% in Diadema, 25.2% in São Bernardo do Campo, 34.2% in Guarulhos than she did in São Paulo itself (23.9%). In Brasília, Marina did better in poorer areas than in the more wealthy neighborhoods, where Aécio was strongest. Many of these voters were likely evangelical Christians, given that the poorer peripheries of Rio and São Paulo concentrate large numbers of evangelicals. Other regions where Marina did well – Espírito Santo, the Vale do Paraíba and the RJ littoral region – also have large evangelical populations.

Therefore, the real challenge for Aécio in the runoff was to conquer the vast majority of Marina’s first round vote – including parts of it which could be thought of as more favourable to the PT, because of their demographics.

The very pronounced regional polarization in this election – similar to 2006 and 2010, but even more polarized on regional lines – is due to a number of factors. Firstly, as Brazil’s democracy has matured, vote choice in presidential elections has become increasingly tied to demographic indicators such as income, education, human development, race (which is correlated with income and education) and religion (although this is more complicated). The Nordeste is the country’s poorest region – according to the Atlas do Desenvolvimento Humano do Brasil 2013, all states in the region had a Human Development Index (HDI) value below the national average (0.727), and the two poorest states in Brazil – Maranhão (0.639) and Alagoas (0.631) – are located in the region. The Nordeste’s poverty is the legacy of a history of social and racial inequality, a poorly diversified agriculture, weak industries, large latifúndios and a very unequal concentration of wealth; as well as regular droughts in the semi-arid inland regions (notably the sertão). Despite modernization and very real (and not unsuccessful) attempts at economic diversification, the Nordeste has remained the poorest region with the biggest wealth inequalities, low HDI values and the highest illiteracy rate (17% compared to 5% in the South/Southeast).

The South – Brazil’s whitest region (settled by European – Portuguese, German or Italian – settlers) – and the Southeast – home to the economic and political powerhouses of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais – are the two wealthiest regions in Brazil. The Centre-West, historically a poor and undeveloped inland region, has seen rapid development and rising prosperity in the recent decades, fueled notably by the agribusiness boom in Mato Grosso/Mato Grosso do Sul. The North, poor, sparsely populated and in parts still very remote, is similar to the Nordeste in that it is poor and largely non-white (brown); although the expansion of ‘pioneer front’ capitalist agriculture in Pará, Acre and Rondônia has changed matters somewhat.

In the past, until fairly recently, the Nordeste was politically dominated by an oligarchic paternalist elite, often of a very conservative orientation hostile to any kind of social reform which could endanger their hegemonic power. The old PFL (now the DEM) was, until 2002-2006, the dominant political force in the Nordeste, as a result of the party’s large network of conservative oligarchs who had previously backed the military regime but embraced democracy when the time came. The 2006 election saw a significant realignment of voting patterns in Brazil, with the PT/Lula gaining full dominance of the Nordeste while losing support in the wealthier South and Southeast. At the state level, powerful conservative oligarchs were defeated in Bahia and Pernambuco. The PT/left has retained dominance of presidential politics in the Nordeste following the 2010 and 2014 elections. As Brazilian democracy matured and the traditional power structures lost their influence, voting patterns have finally broken from the old traditions of coronelismo in the Nordeste and other regions.

First round results in municipalities with over 30% of the population receiving the Bolsa Família (source: Veja)

Another highly relevant contribution to voting patterns in recent presidential elections (since 2006) has been federal social programs. As the poorest region, the Nordeste has benefited the most from the federal government’s various social programs launched (mostly) under Lula or Dilma’s presidencies. The most famous and widespread of these programs is the Bolsa Família, which benefits 14 million families in Brazil – many of them in the Nordeste. Critics of these kind of cash transfer programs to poor populations consider these programs to be primarily clientelistic handouts, a very facile claim which demonstrates a piss-poor understanding of clientelistic politics and ignores the nature of the Bolsa Família. Regardless of what it is, the Bolsa Família has been a huge factor in the recent strength of the PT/left in the Nordeste. Veja‘s interactive map of the result (both rounds) allows you to filter the results according to certain variables, including the percentage of Bolsa Família beneficiaries (or, related to that, the municipality’s HDI or GDP per capita); the Folha de São Paulo also did similar work for the first round and runoff. The results are very revealing, as you can see from the map on the right. In municipalities where over 30% of residents receive the Bolsa Família, Dilma placed first in almost every single one of them – in the rural and inland Nordeste, she won over 70% in many of these municipalities. This graph, stolen from the Folha de São Paulo, shows the correlation between the Dilma vote in the first round and the percentage of the population receiving the Bolsa Família. There is a very clear correlation.

On the Veja map, you can also see the rather clear correlation between low HDI and a high Dilma vote, or a high HDI and a high Aécio vote.

In the race for Congress, the parties in Dilma’s coalitions retained – collectively – their large majorities in both houses of Congress. The PT-PMDB-PSD-PP-PR-PDT-PRB-PROS-PCdoB coalition (all parties which formally backed Dilma) won 304 seats out of 513 in the Chamber of Deputies. In addition to those parties, small venal parties such as the PTB can possibly be added to the government’s base in Congress given that they (a) include a lot of congressmen who are pro-government (like PTB senator Collor) and (b) they mostly end up backing whoever governs anyway. In the Senate, the government can count on about 52 seats (give or take a few) out of 81. The bulk of the congressional opposition in the next four years will be made up of the PSDB, PSB, DEM, PPS and PSOL.

The PT and PMDB suffered loses, however, in both houses of Congress; although the PT managed to remain the largest party in the Chamber, with a thin 4-seat edge over its big ally, the PMDB. The PSDB and PSB were the main winners in the Chamber, although the PRB also brought in a whole slew of deputies (like due to the success of PRB candidate Celso Russomano, who topped the poll in SP). The DEM, once again, were the main losers in the Chamber, even if you compare numbers to dissolution (as I did) to account for the creation of the PSD. Talking of the PSD, Kassab’s party was not considered as a big winner, given that the PSD came out with a smaller bench in the Chamber than it held prior to dissolution. The PSB, buoyed by its new-found independence from the PT and Marina’s candidacy, was another major winner, with 34 seats – up 9 from dissolution.

In the Senate, the PMDB’s plurality helps incumbent President Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL) hold his chair for another two-year term. In the Chamber of Deputies, however, with the PT still the largest party, President Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB-RN) may struggle to retain the presidency of the house, especially considering how embattled he finds himself with the Petrobras accusations and his defeat in the gubernatorial race in Rio Grande do Norte.

This post will continue with a more in-depth look at state-level results. It is relevant to look at the most popular candidates for the Chamber in the country. As the largest state, São Paulo often elects the federal deputy who wins the most votes of all candidates for the Chamber in Brazil. This year, São Paulo – and Brazil’s – most popular candidate was Celso Russomano (PRB), who received 1.524 million votes (or 7.3% of the votes cast in the state), becoming the second-most popular candidate in Brazilian history after Eneás (2002). Russomano served as federal deputy between 1994 and 2012 before he ran, unsuccessfully, for mayor of São Paulo in 2012 but lost in the first round (after having been the early favourite). With his victory this year, he is likely a favourite for São Paulo’s 2016 mayoral election. In second place was Tiririca (PR), the professional clown and singer-songwriter elected federal deputy in 2010 with the most votes in the country; this year he won 1.016 million votes, less than 1.348 million votes he won in 2010 but still a hefty showing. In third place in the state was noted racist and homophobic neo-Pentecostal pastor/incumbent federal deputy Marco Feliciano (PSC), reelected with over 398,000 votes. Bruno Covas (PSDB), the grandson of former governor Mário Covas (PSDB), was elected to the Chamber of Deputies with the fourth-most votes in the state. In São Paulo, the landslide reelection of governor Geraldo Alckmin by the first round carried no less than 14 PSDB congressional candidates to the Chamber, compared to 13 in 2010. Paulinho da Força, the trade union leader and SD, was elected in tenth place with some 227,000 votes. The PT was one of the main losers in the state – the party elected 10 deputies, down from 15 in 2010. Its most popular candidate, Andrés Sanchez, the former president of the popular Corinthians football club, only placed 20th.  Cândido Vaccarezza, one of the leaders of the PT in the Chamber, was defeated, placing 98th (0.2%). Among those defeated in the state were Netinho de Paula (PCdoB), a former black singer and TV star who had unsuccessfully run for Senate in 2010. Elected to the city council of São Paulo in 2012, he has since faced a corruption allegation which saw his assets frozen by court order. In 2010, his senatorial campaign had been hurt by the revelation of an old case of domestic assault. He placed 65th with 0.4%. One prominent incumbent who went down to defeat was Roberto Freire (PPS), the longtime president of the PPS, who came in 84th place. In the fun world of Brazilian politics, a candidate registered as ‘Cosme Barack Obama’ (PMDB) came 601st.

In Rio de Janeiro, the most popular candidate – the third most popular candidate in Brazil – was seven-term incumbent Jair Bolsonaro (PP), a military reservist. Jair Bolsonaro is one of Brazil’s most controversial politicians – he is known for defending the use of torture, his open praise for the military dictatorship, crass sexist/rape apologist commentary (saying that he wouldn’t rape a deputy because she didn’t ‘deserve’ it), homophobic views (calling on fathers to spank their children to ‘cure’ them of homosexuality or ‘prevent’ them from being gay) and racism (against indigenous people, which he basically considers savages, and blacks, referring to interracial relationships as ‘promiscuity’). He was reelected with a much stronger vote than in 2010 – 464,572 votes (6.1%) compared to 120,646 (1.5%) in 2010. I fear that his various racist and homophobic outbursts in 2011 may have further boosted his profile and his popularity in certain social conservative and far-right circles. His son, Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSC-SP), just as repulsive as his father, was elected to the Chamber from SP, coming in 64th place. In second place in RJ was state deputy Clarissa Garotinho (PR), the daughter of former governor and federal deputy Anthony Garotinho – the clownish evangelical populist with strong appeals in low-income evangelical areas, was elected federal deputy with about 335,000 votes (4.4%). In 2010, her father had won 694.8 thousand votes when he was elected federal deputy from RJ. Incumbent federal deputy Eduardo Cunha (PMDB), one of the main leaders of the evangelical caucus, was reelected with 232.7k votes in third position. Chico Alencar and Jean Wyllys (an openly gay LGBT rights activist), two prominent PSOL deputies, were reelected finishing in 4th and 7th places respectively. Marco Antônio Cabral (PMDB), the son of former governor Sérgio Cabral (2007-2014), was elected to the Chamber in 9th place. A candidate named ‘Barack Obama Claudio Henrique’ (PT) came 289th.

In Alagoas, former governor (and Collor’s former arch-nemesis) Ronaldo Lessa (PDT) was elected federal deputy, finishing in fifth place with 6.4%. Pedro Vilela (PSDB), the nephew of outgoing governor Teo Vilela Filho (PSDB), was elected coming in third place with 8.6%. Arthur Lira (PP), one of the leaders of the rural caucus (a conservative coalition of landowners and allies, who take stances opposed to environmental conservation and in favour of laxer deforestation and slave labour regulations) in the Chamber, was reelected coming in fourth with 7.1%. In Bahia, Mário Negromonte Jr. (PP), the son of disgraced former cabinet minister Mário Negromonte, was elected in second place with 2.6%. Lúcio Vieira Lima (PMDB), another leader of the rural caucus, was the most popular candidate in the state. In Pernambuco, the candidates of the late Eduardo Campos’ PSB-led coalition were the big winners, with 8 federal deputies for the PSB – up from 5 in 2010. Former governor Jarbas Vasconcelos (PMDB), a one-time opponent turned ally of the PSB (since 2012), was elected to the Chamber with 5.1%, in third place. In Santa Catarina, incumbent federal deputy and ruralista leader Esperidião Amin (PP) was reelected in first place. In Amazonas, former governor and cabinet minister Alfredo Nascimento (PR), was elected with 7.2%, placing third in the state. In the DF, former deputy Alberto Fraga (DEM) and former governor Rogério Rosso (PSD) were the top two candidates.

In the race for the Senate in São Paulo, José Serra (PSDB) was elected to the Senate in a landslide, winning an impressive 58.5% against 32.5% for incumbent senator Eduardo Suplicy (PT), a 73-year old veteran of Brazilian and paulista politics who had served three terms in the Senate (first elected in 1990). Former mayor Gilberto Kassab (PSD), an ally of the government but a friend of José Serra, won 5.9% though he didn’t put much effort in his campaign. In Minas Gerais, Aécio ally and former governor Antonio Anastasia (PSDB) was elected to the Senate in a landslide, winning 56.7% against 40.2% for Josué Alencar (PMDB), the candidate of the PMDB-PT. In Rio de Janeiro, Romário (PSB), the famous star striker from the Brazilian Seleção’s victorious 1994 US World Cup campaign who was elected to the Chamber in 2010, was elected to the Senate with a massive 63.4% of the vote. The former three-term mayor of Rio (1993-1997, 2001-2009), Cesar Maia (DEM), an old figure of fluminense and carioca politics, was soundly defeated winning only 20.5%. In Rio Grande do Sul, Lasier Martins (PDT), a TV reporter, was elected with 37.4% against 35.3% for Olívio Dutra (PT), a former governor (1999-2002). Incumbent senator Pedro Simon (PMDB), a respected 84-year old veteran of Brazilian politics (active since the 1950s) and a four-term senator (including three consecutive terms, serving since 1991), was dragged out of retirement at the last minute in August to replace initial candidate Beto Albuquerque (PSB) – who ran for Vice President – won only 16.1%.

In Bahia, outgoing vice-governor Otto Alencar (PSD), the candidate backed by the PT and its allies, was elected with 55.9% against 34.5% for Geddel Vieira Lima (PMDB), the candidate backed by the centre-right. In Ceará, former governor and senator Tasso Jereissati (PSDB), defeated for reelection in 2010, returned to the Senate, with an easy victory (57.9%). In Maranhão, Roberto Rocha (PSB) – the son of a former governor and an opponent of the Sarney clan – was elected, with 51.4%, defeating Gastão Vieira (PMDB), the former tourism minister backed by the Sarney clan and Dilma, who won 44.7%. In Alagoas, incumbent senator Fernando Collor (PTB) was reelected easily, taking 55.7% against 31.9% for former senator Heloísa Helena (PSOL), who had some underhanded support from the PSDB.

In the first round of gubernatorial elections, the most notable result was the PSDB’s landslide victory by the first round in São Paulo, where popular incumbent governor Geraldo Alckmin was reelected to a second consecutive term in office with 57.3% against 21.5% for Paulo Skaf (PMDB) and a disastrous 18.2% for the PT’s Alexandre Padilha, the former health minister. Alckmin’s landslide was one of the biggest victories for the PSDB on October 6 and it immediately made him a frontrunner – along with Aécio – for the presidential nomination in 2018. In Rio de Janeiro, incumbent PMDB governor Luiz Fernando Pezão – who took office in April 2014 to replace Sérgio Cabral, the increasingly unpopular two-term incumbent – placed first on October 6, with 40.6% against 20.3% for evangelical bishop and senator Marcelo Crivella (PRB), who narrowly (and surprisingly) qualified for the runoff ahead of former governor Anthony Garotinho (PR), who won 19.7%. Lindberg Farias (PT), a senator, won only 10%, a disastrous result for the PT in RJ. In Minas Gerais, one of the few bright spots for the PT, Fernando Pimentel (PT) – a former mayor of Belo Horizonte (2002-2009) and industry minister (2011-2014) – was elected in the first round, with 53% against 41.9% for Aécio’s candidate Pimenta da Veiga (PSDB). The PSDB had controlled the state governorship since 2003. In Rio Grande do Sul, which is a notoriously anti-incumbent state, incumbent governor Tarso Genro (PT) was in trouble after the first round, where he won 32.6%, quite some distance behind centre-right candidate José Ivo Sartori (PMDB), who could count on the backing of third-place finisher, centre-right senator Ana Amélia Lemos (PP), who won 21.8%. In Paraná, in another major victory for the PSDB, incumbent governor Beto Richa (PSDB) was easily reelected with 55.7% against 27.7% for senator and former governor Roberto Requião (PMDB). Gleisi Hoffman (PT), a close Dilma ally as her Chief of Staff from 2011 to 2014, placed third with a disastrous 14.9% after having been touted as a formidable candidate.

In Alagoas, Renan Filho (PMDB), the son of the President of the Senate Renan Calheiros (PMDB), was elected governor with 52.2%. In Bahia, federal deputy Rui Costa (PT) was elected to succeed term-limited governor Jaques Wagner (PT) with 54.3% in the first round against 37.4% for former governor Paulo Souto (DEM), who had led every single poll except the last one which had indicated a 46-46 tie between the two candidates. In the DF, unpopular incumbent governor Agnelo Queiroz (PT) was defeated by the first round, placing third with 20.1%, with senator Rodrigo Rollemberg (PSB) and federal deputy Jofran Frejat (PR) advancing to the runoff. In Maranhão, Sarney opponent Flávio Dino (PCdoB), at the helm of a composite anti-Sarney coalition, was elected in the first round, with 63.5% against senator Edison Lobão Filho (PMDB), the candidate supported by the Sarney clan (outgoing governor Roseana Sarney) and the President. In Pará, after the first round, incumbent governor Simão Jatene (PSDB) found himself locked in a very close contest against Helder Barbalho (PMDB), the young son of famous corrupt senator Jader Barbalho (PMDB) – Barbalho led with 49.9% against 48.5% for the incumbent. In Pernambuco, Paulo Câmara (PSB) – backed by the late Eduardo Campos – was elected in a landslide, winning 68.1% against 31.1% for senator Armando Monteiro (PTB), the candidate supported by Dilma’s PT. In Rio Grande do Norte, where incumbent governor Rosalba Ciarlini (DEM) didn’t even bother seeking an impossible second term, the first round was inconclusive – Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB), the President of the Chamber and member of a highly powerful local political dynasty in RN, was in first with 47.3% against 42% for vice-governor Robinson Faria (PSD), who had broken with the outgoing DEM governor in 2011.

National Results – October 26, 2014

Turnout in the first round was 78.9%.

Dilma Rousseff (PT) 51.64%
Aécio Neves (PSDB) 48.36%

Blank votes 1.71%
Invalid votes 4.63%

Brazil 2014 - Runoff

President Dilma Rousseff (PT), after one of the most exciting and open-ended presidential races in the history of modern Brazilian democracy, was narrowly reelected at the helm of a polarized and divided Brazil, with 51.64% against 48.36% for her opponent, Senator Aécio Neves (PSDB) – who, in the end, came closer to defeating Dilma than anyone could have imagined a few shorts weeks and months beforehand.

Unlike in the first round, there were no surprises in the national results – despite tucanos clinging to faint hopes that Aécio would still prevail as the underdog, the result was in line with was expected: a close race, but with a narrow edge to the incumbent President. Aécio barely overperformed his final polling numbers (47-48%).

The 2014 election – decided by a margin of 3.28% in the decisive round – was the closest direct presidential election in the history of the Nova República (New Republic)/Sixth Republic (that is to say since the end of the military regime) and even the entire history of Brazil. Prior to 2014, the closest post-military election had been Collor’s 1989 victory over Lula, with 6.1% in the second round. Cardoso had won by the first round in 1994 and 1998, Lula won in 2002 and 2006 by 22.6% and 21.7% respectively and Dilma was elected to her first term following a 12.1% victory in the second round against the PSDB’s José Serra. To find a presidential race closer than 2014, we need to go back to the Fourth Republic (1945-1964), which had single-round (FPTP) presidential elections – in 1955, Juscelino Kubitschek won by 5.4%. The 1960 vice-presidential election (back then, the VP was elected separately) was closer than 2014 – João Goulart won by 2.4%.

IBOVESPA stock exchange value, Aug. 1 to Oct. 29 (source: Google Finance)

The 2014 presidential election painted the picture of a deeply polarized and divided country – a reality which has led several Brazilian observers to draw parallels to the US, especially with the rise of voting patterns polarized along regional lines in Brazil and of red states/blue states similar to those in the US (of course, it’s a very academic thing to do, since states don’t matter in presidential races in Brazil, unlike in the US). Dilma, for a whole host of reasons, has become a very polarizing and divisive President, a love-hate figure who has a very strong base of support but also a very vocal base of opponents. Her opponents accuse her of financial mismanagement, rising inflation, low economic growth, complicity in corruption scandals, disrespecting the Central Bank’s autonomy,  the unsustainable growth of the public sector, profligate spending and taxation, opaque and discretionary dealings with businesses and the private sector and the rapid increase of public credit and subsidies (loans by state-owned banks) to companies. Dilma’s economic policies and mediocre record on economic and fiscal issues has also won her the disapproval of Brazilian markets, shareholders, domestic and foreign investors.

During the campaign, it was quite interesting to observe how the value of the BF&M BOVESPA (the São Paulo stock exchange) and the value of the real to the US dollar fluctuated in line with polls and campaign events – the stock exchange fell whenever polls favourable to Dilma came out, rose whenever good news for Marina/Aécio came out. The stock exchange’s value declined throughout September, as the odds increasingly favoured a Dilma reelection, but the stock exchange rose after Dilma’s poor result on October 6 before falling during the runoff campaign as Aécio’s early momentum wore off. It fell to a low after Dilma’s reelection. Similarly, the real fell throughout September as polls favoured Dilma, and rose on October 6 before falling to a new low against the US dollar following Dilma’s reelection. Dilma’s critics point out that she will need to give clear indications and favourable impressions to the markets – notably over her choice of a finance minister to replace Guido Mantega, also disliked by the markets. Her supporters argue, on the other hand, that Dilma was elected by voters and doesn’t owe anything to the markets.

Dilma will face a tough second term. On an economic front, bad numbers have continued to pile up since the election: inflation breaking the upper band (6.5%), low growth, the government failing to meet its primary surplus targets, somber markets and a low real. The appointment of Joaquim Levy, a banker with a PhD from the University of Chicago, as her new finance minister suggests that she will reorient her economic policies in a more conservative, neoliberal direction.

Politically, she becomes a lame-duck president who will see her own party and many of her allies – especially the PMDB – quickly looking ahead to 2018, where there is no obvious government dauphin waiting in the wings. She already had a tough relationship with Congress during her first term, she might face an even tougher one. Finally, the Petrobras scandal is quite big, and it’s not clear how big it could go. The opposition and Dilma’s critics have been pounding her relentlessly on the scandal, and certain people have already talked of impeachment.

Winner’s margin of victory by municipality (source: Folha de S. Paulo)

More than ever before, the election was polarized on regional lines. It is quite interesting to note that, compared to 2010, when Dilma won by 12.1%, only one federal unit – the DF – switched from the PT to the PSDB, despite a much narrower PT victory of 3.3% in 2014. The 2014 election was therefore more intensely polarized on regional lines than ever before – something which many inevitably compare to the US, increasingly polarized with ‘red states’ and ‘blue states’.

Absolutely key to Dilma’s victory was her massive margins in the Nordeste. In the region as a whole, she won 71.7%, compared to 70.6% in 2010. There were significant swings in her favour in the states of Alagoas (+8.49%), Paraíba (+2.71%), Piauí (+8.32%) and most impressively so in Rio Grande do Norte (+10.42%) and Sergipe (+13.45%). In the states of Bahia (-0.69%), Ceará (-0.6%) and Maranhão (-0.33%), the petista vote fell by less than 1% since 2010. The only Nordeste state which did witness a significant swing in line with the national trend was Pernambuco, where Aécio improved on Serra’s 2010 numbers by 5.45% – although even in Eduardo Campos’ old bastion, Dilma still won 70.2% of the vote.

Dilma’s numbers in the Nordeste varied between a high of 78.8% in Maranhão and a low of 62.1% in Alagoas – unlike in 2010, when she had been held under 60% in Alagoas, Sergipe and Rio Grande do Norte, Dilma won over 60% in every single state. In the Nordeste, her best results came from the inland semi-arid sertão – the poorest region in the country – where she won over 70%, if not 80%, of the vote in the vast majority of municipalities. She was weaker in urban areas (a reversal of the pre-2006 situation, where Northeastern cities leaned more to the left than rural areas did), which are wealthier and economically developed/diversified – Dilma won 59.2% in Recife (PE), down from 66.4% in 2010; yet she won 58.1% in Natal (RN), 51.1% in Maceió (AL) and 59.6% in Aracaju (SE) – all of which she had lost in 2010. Dilma won by large, albeit reduced, margins in 68% in Fortaleza, CE (68%), São Luis, MA (70.4%) and Salvador, BA (67.3%). Aécio won 58% in Campina Grande (PB), the second largest city in Paraíba and an affluent high-tech/university centre.

Aécio’s inability to make significant inroads in the Nordeste was one of the factors which led to his narrow defeat. The case of Pernambuco is rather instructive: Marina had won the state with 48% on October 6, causing Dilma’s support to fall by 17.5% compared to the first round in 2010. While Aécio was not expected to come close to winning the state, which remains a left-leaning Northeastern state, he could likely have done better, if he had been able to carry more of Marina’s first round voters. He gained 5.5% from José Serra’s 2010 results in PE (still the largest pro-PSDB swing in the Nordeste).

The importance of the Nordeste to Dilma’s victory led some angry anti-Dilma voters on Twitter to respond with pretty undignified and appalling comments on Twitter, attacking the region and its voters as ‘stupid’ in pretty melodramatic terms (under the hashtag #RIPBrasil).

Results by municipality in MG (source: Estadão)

The state of Minas Gerais was the bellwether swing state of this election. Although it wasn’t the decisive state – Dilma won by 3.46 million votes nationally and by 550,601 votes in MG – it was a key battleground, as well as the closest state (that the tightest state was still carried with 52.4% also shows how polarized the election was). Every victorious presidential candidate in Brazilian democratic history has carried MG, with the exception of Vargas in 1950. Dilma carried MG – Aécio’s home state (she was born in MG as well, but her political career was in RS) – with 52.41%, a substantial 6% loss from 2010, suggesting that Aécio did have a home state effect even if he failed to carry MG.

Minas Gerais is an extremely diverse state, in some ways a microcosm of the country as a whole. The map to the right shows the results of the second round by municipality, revealing some fairly clearly delineated regional differences within the state. The northeast and southeast of the state – the mesorregiões of Noroeste do Minas, Norte do Minas, Jequitinhonha, Vale do Mucuri, Vale do Rio Doce and Zona da Mata – voted heavily for Dilma, particularly the northeastern half. A natural extension of the Nordeste, this region is significantly poorer (and browner) than the rest of the state. The far north of the state is considered part of the sertão and the semi-arid low rainfall polígono das secas. Dilma won over 75-80% in a number of municipalities in the northeastern extremity of Minas, numbers very similar to what she won just across state lines in Bahia.

% vulnerable to poverty in MG (Atlas do Desenvolvimento Humano no Brasil, UNDP)

On the other hand, Aécio did very well in the Belo Horizonte metro area – in the state capital, an affluent urban centre, he won 64.3%, compared to only 50.4% for Serra four years ago. He also swung several suburban municipalities, including Contagem. Aécio also improved in the southwest of the state, an economically developed and fairly well-off region demographically similar to neighboring areas in the state of São Paulo. The one oddity, however, was Dilma’s decisive victory in the Triângulo Mineiro and Alto Paranaíba – the far west appendage of Minas – which is the wealthiest region in the state. Given that demographically similar areas across state lines in Goiás voted PSDB, I hypothesize that this region’s unusual left-wing leanings may be due to the strong regionalist movement in the area seeking statehood.

Another key state for Dilma’s victory was Rio de Janeiro, where she won 54.9%, down 5.5% from 60.5% in 2010. It was a pretty bad year for the left and the PT in particular in RJ, an historically left-leaning state. Dilma lost over 10% from her 2010 result in the city of Rio, squeaking out an extremely narrow 50.8% victory over Aécio. She was defeated in the affluent liberal city of Niterói across the Bay from Rio, with Aécio winning 54.9% compared to Serra’s 47.4% four years ago. Dilma, however, held tight in Rio’s poorer northern suburbs, suffering less severe loses compared to 2010. She won 69.1% in Duque de Caxias, 63.9% in Nova Iguaçu, 66% in São João de Meriti, 74.8% in Belford Roxo and 68% in São Gonçalo.

While the Nordeste trended even further to the left, Aécio raked up some impressive margins in the richer and traditionally right-leaning states of São Paulo and the South. In the key Southeast swing region (made up of MG, RJ, ES and SP), Aécio won 56.2% compared to 48.1% for Serra in 2010. In the South, which was Serra’s best region with 53.9% in 2010, Aécio won 58.9%. He also carried the Centre-West region with 57.4%, a major improvement from Serra’s 50.9% in the region in 2010. In the state of São Paulo, the tucano stronghold par excellence, Aécio won an historic 64.3% – meaning that Dilma lost a massive 10.3% from her 2010 support in the state. In the bloodbath, Aécio carried all of the state’s major cities and demolished the PT even in its old strongholds – the industrial ABC paulista (the birthplace of the PT) and Campinas’ industrial suburbs. In the right-leaning city of São Paulo, which José Serra had won with 53.6% in 2010, Aécio won 63.8%. In the ABC paulista, Dilma only narrowly retained Diadema, with 53.9% (66.5% in 2010); she lost in São Bernardo do Campo (falling from 56.2% to 44.1%), Santo André (falling from 48.8% to 36.7%) and Mauá (from 57% to 43.8%). Although the ABC paulista remains poorer than downtown São Paulo, the region has changed substantially since Lula was a trade union leader in the 1970s-1980s – it has become wealthier, economic liberalization has transformed the local economy and heavy industry has declined in favour of services and commerce.

The predominantly white and wealthy southern states of Paraná and Santa Catarina also swung heavily to Aécio – who won 61% and 64.6% in those states, +5.5% and +8% respectively from 2010. In Rio Grande do Sul – which really forms a distinctive regional subculture on its own, and is politically complicated – Aécio won 53.5%, and the swing was smaller (+2.6% on 2010). Perhaps Aécio would have preferred if Dilma carried RS – the state has voted for the loser in every election since 1989, except 2002!

The only federal unit to vote for a different party than in 2010 was the Federal District (Brasília) – which had the second largest swing of any federal unit in Brazil. Dilma had narrowly carried the DF with 52.8% in 2010; four years later, her vote share fell by 14.7% and Aécio won the DF with no less than 61.9%. The DF has the highest HDI of all federal units; it is a largely middle-class district, with an economy heavily driven by the federal government/public sector. While affluent, its public sector-driven economy has meant that the DF has usually leaned somewhat to the left. This year’s result is part of a broader trend which saw middle-class areas of all kind swing heavily towards Aécio, even those like the DF or Rio which have large public sector employment. Middle-class voters have shifted away from the PT since 2006, this year the swing was even more pronounced. Middle-class voters tend to be particularly sensitive to corruption and they largely dislike Dilma’s economic and fiscal policies. In the DF specifically, Dilma was also badly hurt by the unpopularity of the incumbent PT governor, defeated in the first round.

In the other states of the Centre-West (which all voted for Aécio), Goiás swung towards the PSDB (+6.4%) while Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul had smaller swings (+3.6% and +1.2% respectively).

The North is an odd region when it comes to politics – and it had some odd results this year. Dilma improved on her horrendous 2010 results in Acre and Roraima, gaining 6% and 7.7% respectively (she still lost both, 63.7-36.3 in AC and 59-41 in RR); she also improved in Pará (+4.2%) and Tocantins (+0.6%). However, the state of Amazonas – where she won 80.6% in 2010 – had the biggest swing in the country, with her support falling by 15.6 points to 65%. I’m not quite sure why Amazonas swung so heavily against her while Acre, Roraima and Pará swung particularly heavily towards her – local factors probably a big reason here.

First round results in municipalities with over 30% of the population receiving the Bolsa Família (source: Folha de S. Paulo)

As in the first round the main determinant of voting patterns were class, economic development, race and federal social programs. Going back to Veja and the Folha‘s interactive maps, looking at the results in those municipalities where over 30% of families receive the Bolsa Família is again very telling. There are some exceptions, but basically the vast, vast majority of municipalities where over three in ten receive the Bolsa Família voted for Dilma – usually by big margins. Few of these poor municipalities voted for Aécio. On the other hand, there are relatively few regions where less than 30% receive the Bolsa Família that voted for Dilma. The urban areas of the Nordeste, RJ, the Triângulo Mineiro, Minas’ Zona da Mata and rural RS appear as the only ‘wealthier’ regions which voted for Dilma.

All in all, the 2014 election continued geographic and demographic trends which begun in 2006. However, the class and regional polarization was much deeper in 2014 than in 2006 or 2010. Middle-class states and cities moved further to the right, while poor states and cities swung less heavily or even moved further to the left. The results in the cities of São Paulo, Curitiba (PR), Porto Alegre (RS), Goiânia (GO), Florianópolis (SC), Belo Horizonte (MG), Brasília and Rio de Janeiro – predominantly middle-class cities – are quite telling. They all moved further to the right, even in cities like Porto Alegre, Brasília, BH and Rio which had left-wing leanings in the past.

In gubernatorial runoffs, Rio de Janeiro reelected Luiz Fernando Pezão (PMDB) with 55.8% in a runoff against Marcelo Crivella, the evangelical bishop and senator. In anti-incumbent Rio Grande do Sul, incumbent governor Tarso Genro (PT) was unsurprisingly defeated by a wide margin by centre-right candidate José Ivo Sartori (PMDB), who won 61.2%. In the DF, no surprises as senator Rodrigo Rollemberg (PSB) defeated Jofran Frejat (PR) with 55.6%. In Goiás, incumbent tucano governor Marconi Perillo won a second term with 57.4% of the vote. In Rio Grande do Norte, vice-governor Robinson Faria (PSD) defeated Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB) by a comfortable margin, winning 54.4%. In Pará, governor Simão Jatene (PSDB) won reelection narrowly with 51.9% in a close contest with Helder Barbalho (PMDB). Only one woman was elected governor in 2014, in Roraima.

Continue to read below the fold for full state-by-state results.

Full State-by-state results

São Paulo


Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB)* 57.31%
Paulo Skaf (PMDB) 21.53%
Alexandre Padilha (PT) 18.22%
Gilberto Natalini (PV) 1.22%
5 others 1.72%


José Serra (PSDB) 58.49%
Eduardo Suplicy (PT)* 32.53%
Gilberto Kassab (PSD) 5.94%
Marlene Campos Machado (PTB) 1.74%
4 others 1.3%

São Paulo turned out to be a total and utter bloodbath for the PT, at all levels. The state, Brazil’s economic powerhouse, is traditionally right-leaning – it is wealthy, economically developed, well-educated with low levels of poverty and a traditional skepticism (if not hostility) towards the federal government. It is the birthplace of both the PSDB and the PT, who have been the two major rivals in the state for the last several years, although São Paulo does also have an old PMDB tradition (with former governor Orestes Quércia) and malufismo has been a strong populist/conservative force in the city of São Paulo. Paulo Maluf, a former bionic governor (1979-1982) and mayor (1969-1971) revived his political career post-dictatorship by managing a return as mayor of SP (in 1992) and then as federal deputy in 2002, last reelected in 2010. His 2014 candidacy was barred by the Regional Electoral Tribunal (TRE). Maluf is on Interpol’s most wanted list, along with his son, for conspiracy and larceny in an old construction kickback scandal, among countless other financial corruption scandals. With a net worth of over $33 million, he’s one of Brazil’s richest politicians.

The PSDB has held the governorship since 1995, with Mário Covas, José Serra and Geraldo Alckmin. Its management of the state has generally been popular – the state’s economy has remained strong, and the PSDB is credited by many with cleaning up state government beginning with Covas in the late 1990s. The state’s security situation has also improved dramatically since the 1990s – from being one of the most violent states in Brazil, it now has the second-lowest homicide rate in Brazil after Santa Catarina. The PT has never governed the state, but has elected several mayors of São Paulo – including the current mayor, Fernando Haddad.

Incumbent governor Geraldo Alckmin, who governed from 2001 to 2006, returned to power for a second non-consecutive term in 2010 after a first round victory against Senator Aloizio Mercadante (PT). Alckmin has been fairly popular since 2010, although his name came up in some scandals and he too suffered from the 2013 protests (but, like other politicians, recovered quite nicely as it cooled down). In the campaign, he faced attacks from his opponents on the issue of water supplies and the very real threat of water rationing, but he denied the possibility of water shortages. His government struggled with infrastructure issues, with major delays and corruption controversies in the opening of the fifth line of the SP metro.

He was the heavy favourite to win reelection against a field of weak opponents. The PMDB, which had supported him Alckmin in 2010 due to the late Orestes Quércia’s leadership, broke with him and ran Paulo Skaf, a businessman and industrialist who is president of the Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo (Fiesp), the powerful employers’ federation in the state. The Fiesp has been a rather powerful advocate of pro-business and liberal economic policies, and against some controversial taxes. Skaf joined the PMDB from the PSB in 2011 in a marriage of convenience organized by Vice President Michel Temer, the new boss of the PMDB in SP. Skaf appeared on stage with Dilma and Temer in August, but immediately denied that he supported the President’s reelection campaign because he was an ‘independent’ candidate (the PMDB/Temer were displeased). Skaf’s coalition included the PMDB, Kassab’s PSD, the PDT, the PP and the PROS. Gilberto Kassab, the former mayor of São Paulo and the founder of the PSD, was the coalition’s candidate for Senate.

The PT, with the PCdoB and PR, ran a weak candidate – Alexandre Padilha, the Minister of Health from 2011 till February 2014 (he resigned to run for office). Like Haddad in 2012, Padilha was Lula’s candidate, hand-picked by the former President over other contenders including Senator Marta Suplicy and then-education minister Aloizio Mercadante (who was instead rewarded with the Chief of Staff position in February 2014). Although Padilha has been active in the PT for decades, he has never held elective office. As health minister, Padilha managed several big issues – the Mais Médicos program (which won him the ire of medical associations) and health financing. His name has been quoted by the Federal Police in the operação Lava Jato – the health ministry signed a R$ 150 million contract with a shell company connected to Alberto Youssef.

Alckmin had a big coalition – besides the PSDB and the DEM, it notably included the PSB (Márcio França, a PSB federal deputy, was his running-mate) and also the PRB, PPS, PSC and SD. The presence of Eduardo Campos/Marina’s PSB caused some partisan wrangling in the campaign when Aécio was at his lowest ebb – as there were questions whether Marina would formally endorse Alckmin (her running-mate did record an ad for him).

Alckmin was reelected in a massive landslide – winning 57.3% in the first round, a huge margin of victory. The PT took a massive thumping, with its candidate placing third with 18.2% – and that result was a bit more than expected from the last polls; the PT had placed second behind the PSDB in the last three gubernatorial elections. Alckmin won 644 of the state’s 645 municipalities, with the PT only pulling off a narrow victory in Hortolândia, a working-class suburb of the high-tech industrial centre of Campinas. He won 51.9% in São Paulo, 65% in São José dos Campos, 60% in Santos, 50.6% in Campinas, 61.6% in Taubaté and 60.5% in São Carlos. He also swept the ABC suburbs of São Paulo, including Diadema. Paulo Skaf came a distant second with 21.5%, and his political backer Michel Temer is now quite pissed off at him.

In the senatorial contest, José Serra – another political veteran – ran for Senate, two years after he lost the mayoral election in São Paulo. He faced incumbent PT senator Eduardo Suplicy, who has been in the Senate since 1991 and was reelected in 1998 and 2006 even as the state voted against Lula. He is the ex-husband of senator Marta Suplicy. Eduardo Suplicy has a fairly good reputation as a competent and non-hackish senator, who hasn’t been afraid to break from PT dogma on some occasions. Nevertheless, as the state shifted further to the right and he faced a formidable PSDB-led coalition, his time had clearly run out this year. He led in no polls, and was widely expected to lose. Lose he did, but he did so by an unexpectedly massive margin – Serra did even better than Alckmin, winning 58.5%! In the last two polls, Serra led by 9 and 11 respectively, but he ultimately won by 26. Gilberto Kassab, the former mayor of São Paulo (until 2012) and Dilma ally (but also friends with Serra), won only 5.9%.

Alckmin’s landslide carried over to the federal and state legislative contests. The PSDB elected 14 federal deputies and 22 state legislators. However, the most popular candidate for federal deputy was Celso Russomano (PRB), who received 1.524 million votes (or 7.3% of the votes cast in the state). Russomano served as federal deputy between 1994 and 2012 before he ran, unsuccessfully, for mayor of São Paulo in 2012 but lost in the first round (after having been the early favourite). With Russomano ‘pushing’ the party, the PRB won 8 seats (2 in 2010). With his victory this year, he is likely a favourite for São Paulo’s 2016 mayoral election. In second place was Tiririca (PR), the professional clown and singer-songwriter elected federal deputy in 2010 with the most votes in the country; this year he won 1.016 million votes, less than 1.348 million votes he won in 2010 but still a hefty total. The PR elected 6 deputies (4 in 2010), partly as a result of Tiririca pushing the party. In third place in the state was noted racist and homophobic neo-Pentecostal pastor/incumbent federal deputy Marco Feliciano (PSC), reelected with over 398,000 votes. Bruno Covas (PSDB), the grandson of former governor Mário Covas (PSDB), was elected to the Chamber of Deputies with the fourth-most votes in the state. Paulinho da Força, the trade union leader and SD, was elected in tenth place with some 227,000 votes. The PT was one of the main losers in the state – the party elected 10 deputies, down from 15 in 2010. Its most popular candidate, Andrés Sanchez, the former president of the popular Corinthians football club, only placed 20th. He was a star candidate expected to ‘push’ the PT, but failed badly. Cândido Vaccarezza, one of the leaders of the PT in the Chamber, was defeated, placing 98th (0.2%). Among others defeated in the state were Netinho de Paula (PCdoB), a former black singer and TV star who had unsuccessfully run for Senate in 2010. Elected to the city council of São Paulo in 2012, he has since faced a corruption allegation which saw his assets frozen by court order. In 2010, his senatorial campaign had been hurt by the revelation of an old case of domestic assault. He placed 65th with 0.4%. One prominent incumbent who went down to defeat was Roberto Freire, the longtime president of the PPS, who came in 84th place.

Alckmin will enjoy a majority in the Legislative Assembly, with 51 out of 94 seats for his coalition. The PT won 14 seats.

The PT is left in very poor shape in the state following this election. It lacks a strong bench in the state, especially as the PSDB is building a powerful bench with some young names like Bruno Covas. The PT’s only prominent office-holder in the state is senator Marta Suplicy, who is 69 years old (and is part of an older generation of PT politicians in SP) and can’t win state-wide anyhow. Mayor Fernando Haddad is quite unpopular and may lose reelection in 2016 because he faces a strong PSDB bench and Russomano.

Results of the presidential runoff by city district in São Paulo, SP (source: G1/O Globo) – compare to HDI levels here

In the presidential race, Dilma suffered a heavy defeat of historic proportions in the state. Her 35.69% in the runoff was the lowest second round result for the PT in the state, lower than Lula’s 42.1% in the 1989 runoff against Collor; her 25.8% in the first round were lower than Lula’s result in SP in 1994 and 1998, when the PSDB won by the first round. Her 36.2% in the city of SP in the runoff was far lower than the 46.4% she got there four years ago. Dilma lost most municipalities in the state, including traditionally PT places like São Bernardo do Campo and Osasco; she mostly won less populous and poorer rural municipalities. There was a strong polarization in the city of São Paulo, as is usually the case – Aécio and the PSDB were totally dominant in the core of the city, which is wealthier, while Dilma only won a few neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city, which are the poorest areas of SP. In the upper-class districts of Moema, Jardim Paulista, Itaim Bibi and Pinheiros Aécio won over 80%, if not 85%, of the vote in the runoff. Dilma only topped the poll in the poorest parts of the city, such as Parelheiros (in the far south) where she won with 60.3%. Key to Aécio’s victory in the city was, of course, very heavy support in lower middle-class and middle-class areas, such as the districts in the northeast of the city, where Aécio received over 70% of the vote in most districts.

Alckmin’s landslide further boosts his profile as a national leader in the PSDB, perhaps setting him up for a 2018 presidential candidacy, although he would need to defeat Aécio before.

Minas Gerais


Fernando Pimentel (PT) 52.98%
Pimenta da Veiga (PSDB)^ 41.89%
Tarcísio Delgado (PSB) 3.9%
4 others 1.23%


Antônio Anastasia (PSDB) 56.73%
Josué Alencar (PMDB) 40.18%
Margarida Vieira (PSB) 2.14%
5 others 0.94%

One of the few significant bright spots for the PT in the major states was Minas Gerais, the traditional bellwether state. The state – Aécio’s home state – has been governed by the PSDB without interruption since 2003 and prior to that for four years from 1995 to 1999. The PT has never governed the state before. After Aécio’s two terms, he was easily elected to the Senate in 2010 and handed over his gubernatorial job to his close ally and vice-governor Antônio Anastasia, the former technocrat who had been behind Aécio’s management shock in his first term. Because Antônio Anastasia had assumed office in March 2010, after Aécio resigned to run for Senate, he is considered to have served two consecutive terms and was therefore term limited. He resigned in April 2014 to run for Senate.

The PSDB, in a coalition including the DEM, PP, PV, PPS, PTB, PR, PSD, PDT and SD among others, supported Pimenta da Veiga (PSDB), a former mayor of Belo Horizonte (1989-1990) and Minister of Communications (1998-2003). He left with a pretty shoddy record in both jobs. As communications minister, he is accused of having facilitated the entrance of sketchy Marcos Valério, the PR/advertising businessman behind the mensalão during the Lula administration, to the federal government. Marcos Valério was originally behind the mensalão tucano in 1998 – the illegal financing, through embezzled public funds or illegal private donations, of then-governor Eduardo Azeredo’s 1998 reelection campaign. Accused of receiving R$300,000 from Marcos Valério’s ad companies, Pimenta da Veiga was indicted for money laundering by the Federal Police in April 2014. During the campaign, Pimenta da Veiga also faced accusations of carpetbagging given that he has spent most of his time in recent years in Goiás or Brasília and owned no property in MG.

Fernando Pimentel (PT), a close friend of the President – both of them were members of the guerrilla group VAR-Palmares during the military dictatorship – was the candidate of a coalition made up of the PT, the PMDB, the PCdoB, the PRB and the PROS. Pimentel served as mayor of Belo Horizonte from 2002 to 2009, leaving office with sky-high approval ratings because of his popular and successful urban development, anti-poverty, education and social policies. After an unsuccessful candidacy for the Senate in 2010, Pimentel became Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade in Dilma’s government, an office he held until February 2014. His running-mate was Antônio Andrade (PMDB), a federal deputy and former Minister of Agriculture (2013-2014). For the Senate, the coalition’s candidate was Josué Alencar (PMDB), a businessman and the son of former Vice President José Alencar.

Marina Silva’s PSB supported Tarcísio Delgado, a former federal deputy and former three-term mayor of Juiz de Fora (1983-1988, 1997-2000, 2001-2004). However, Marcio Lacerda, the PSB mayor of Belo Horizonte, supported Pimenta da Veiga – Lacerda is an ally of Aécio and Anastasia, and was reelected mayor with their support in 2012.

As expected, Pimentel was elected governor by the first round, a key victory for the PT and a major blow to Aécio and the PSDB. The PSDB likely suffered from having a crummy candidate and the PT’s accusations of PSDB ‘arrogance’ and complacency after so long in power. However, at the same time, former governor Antônio Anastasia, who left office a few months ago with high approvals, was easily elected to the Senate with 56.7%.

Key to Pimentel’s victory was his support in the Belo Horizonte metro area. He won the state capital with 47.4% to 45.1% for Pimenta da Veiga, while Dilma managed only 25.1% in the city in the first round against 53.9% for Aécio.

No notable candidates gathered a large number of votes in the race for federal deputy. Incumbent three-term PT deputy Reginaldo Lopes was the most popular candidate, with some 310,000 votes; Rodrigo de Castro, a two-term PSDB incumbent, won some 292,800 votes. Gustavo Perrella (SD), a state deputy notable for owning the helicopter seized in 2013 with 450kg of cocaine, was defeated in his bid to become a federal deputy. The PT elected 10 federal deputies, up 2 from 2010; the PSDB lost one, electing 7 and the PMDB, electing 6, also lost one.

Although the PMDB and PT became the largest parties in the Legislative Assembly with 10 seats each, Pimentel’s small coalition lacks a majority in the state legislature, holding 26 out of 77 seats – although it will likely be able to win over venal parties like the PSD, PDT, PTB, PR and PP.

As noted above, Minas Gerais was the bellwether swing state of the presidential race. Every victorious presidential candidate in Brazilian democratic history has carried MG, with the exception of Vargas in 1950. Dilma carried MG – Aécio’s home state (she was born in MG as well, but her political career was in RS) – with 52.41%, a substantial 6% loss from 2010, suggesting that Aécio did have a home state effect even if he failed to carry MG.

Minas Gerais is an extremely diverse state, in some ways a microcosm of the country as a whole. There are some clearly delineated regional differences within the state. The northeast and southeast of the state – the mesorregiões of Noroeste do Minas, Norte do Minas, Jequitinhonha, Vale do Mucuri, Vale do Rio Doce and Zona da Mata – voted heavily for Dilma, particularly the northeastern half. A natural extension of the Nordeste, this region is significantly poorer (and browner) than the rest of the state. The far north of the state is considered part of the sertão and the semi-arid low rainfall polígono das secas. Dilma won over 75-80% in a number of municipalities in the northeastern extremity of Minas, numbers very similar to what she won just across state lines in Bahia.

On the other hand, Aécio did very well in the Belo Horizonte metro area – in the state capital, an affluent urban centre, he won 64.3%, compared to only 50.4% for Serra four years ago. Aécio also improved in the southwest of the state, an economically developed and fairly well-off region demographically similar to neighboring areas in the state of São Paulo. The one oddity, however, was Dilma’s decisive victory in the Triângulo Mineiro and Alto Paranaíba – the far west appendage of Minas – which is the wealthiest region in the state. Given that demographically similar areas across state lines in Goiás voted PSDB, I hypothesize that this region’s unusual left-wing leanings may be due to the strong regionalist movement in the area seeking statehood.

Pimentel’s victory is a major victory for the PT, because MG is a big and important state. His election makes him a potential presidential candidate for 2018, if he retains his popularity between now and then.

Rio de Janeiro


Luiz Fernando Pezão (PMDB)* 40.57% > 55.78%
Marcelo Crivella (PRB) 20.26% > 44.22%
Anthony Garotinho (PR) 19.73%
Lindberg Farias (PT) 10%
Tarcísio Motta (PSOL) 8.92%
2 others 0.53%


Romário (PSB) 63.43%
Cesar Maia (DEM) 20.51%
Líliam Sá (PROS) 6.88%
Diplomata Sebastião Neves (PRB) 4.08%
Carlos Lupi (PDT) 3.09%
Pedro Rosa (PSOL) 1.86%
2 others 0.15%

Rio de Janeiro is a left-leaning state in presidential elections, but the PT has always been fairly weak in RJ. In the 1980s and 1990s, the dominant force in fluminense politics was brizolismo – Leonel Brizola, the firebrand left-wing populist, who served two terms as governor (1983-1987, 1991-1994). His influence and that of his party (the PDT) declined after 1998 and his death in 2004. The new forces of RJ politics are the PMDB, populism, Christian evangelical politics and the radical left. In 1998, Anthony Garotinho – an evangelical former radio host and mayor of Campos dos Goytacazes – was elected governor with Brizola’s support. Originally a competent reformist leader, after breaking with Brizola in 2000 he transformed into a divisive, clownish and flamboyant populist leader. He built a strong base of support by playing on his evangelical faith and through pro-poor policies such as subsidized public services offered for the symbolic price of R$ 1 (hotel nights for workers, meals in popular restaurants), a base which allowed him to place a strong third with 18% in the 2002 presidential election (for the PSB) and which allowed his wife, Rosinha Garotinho, to succeed him as a governor in 2002. Garotinho has a strong base of support, but an even larger base of opponents: he is widely disliked by others for his thinly-veiled religious proselytizing and corruption (vote buying, illegal campaign funding). The couples’ ties to Álvaro Lins, the head of the state’s Civil Police under their administrations, became a cause of controversy in 2008 when Lins was arrested for participation in and links to organized crime. In May 2010, Garotinho was declared ineligible for office for ‘abuse of economic power’ and misuse of the media in the 2008 local elections; his wife, who had been elected mayor of Campos dos Goytacazes in 2008, was removed from office by the regional electoral tribunal (TRE) for ‘abuse of economic power’. Garotinho had unsuccessfully tried to receive the PMDB’s nomination for President in 2006, but a short-lived ‘electoral verticalization’ rule in place at the time which forced parties to have the same alliances at all levels led the PMDB to remain neutral to retain its state-by-state alliances.

In 2006, Sérgio Cabral (PMDB) was elected governor with the Garotinho clan’s support (and Lula’s endorsement in the runoff, although Garotinho controversially backed Alckmin). Although he broke from Garotinho pretty quickly (in 2009 Garotinho left the PMDB to join the PR), Cabral was popular in his first term. He was handily reelected (with PT support) in 2010 by the first round with two-thirds of the vote, against centre-right candidate Fernando Gabeira (PV). A key initiative of his administration are the Pacifying Police Units (UPP), state police units aimed at reclaiming and maintaining order in certain neighborhoods (like the favelas) of Rio. The UPPs have been generally successful in reducing criminality in the neighborhoods where they are deployed. In his second term, infrastructure became the major issue, with most state resources being devoted to the fourth line of the Rio metro and public works projects in the interior. The use of loans to finance these projects has been criticized by the opposition and the State Court of Audit. His popularity, however, fell in the second term and he was one the targets of protesters during the 2013 protests. They accused him of using his office for private gain, corruption, autocratic management and delays/cost overruns in public works projects. His approval ratings fell to 12% following the protests, and increased marginally to 18% (good or very good) in December 2013, making him the third least popular governor in Brazil. In 2014, criminality has increased and the UPPs have been criticized by some for failing to live up to expectations as several shootings occurred in ostensibly ‘pacified’ neighborhoods of Rio.

To favour the gubernatorial candidacy of his vice-governor Luiz Fernando Pezão (PMDB), Cabral resigned his office in April 2014. He had hoped to run for federal deputy or Senate this year, but didn’t do so. Pezão (that’s not his real name, but his popular nickname, meaning ‘Bigfoot’ because he apparently has big feet) became governor and watched his standing in polls improve gradually as his notoriety increased. Pezão’s broad coalition O Rio em Primeiro Lugar included his PMDB, the PP, DEM, PSDB, PSD, PPS, SD, PTB, PSC and several smaller parties. Pezão’s running mate was retiring senator Francisco Dornelles (PP). The coalition’s senatorial candidate was Cesar Maia (DEM), a veteran of Rio politics who served three terms as mayor of Rio (1993-1996, 2001-2009). He unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 2010, one of the candidates of the centre-right coalition (PV-DEM-PPS-PSDB), placing fourth with 11.1%. He was, however, elected to the Rio city council in 2012.

Marcelo Crivella was the candidate of the PRB, for all intents and purposes the political wing of the United Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG). Crivella is the nephew of Edir Macedo, the billionaire bishop leader of the UCKG. After 10 years of missionary work for his uncle’s church in Africa, Crivella became a UCKG bishop and a successful gospel singer – he has released 14 albums, with over 5 million sales, and one of his albums (O Mensageiro da Solidariedade) received a diamond certification in 1999 for over 1 million copies sold. Crivella was elected to the Senate in 2002 and reelected to a second term in 2010, supporting Lula and Dilma’s governments. He served as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture from 2012 to March 2014. Crivella ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 (placing third) and for mayor of Rio in 2004 and 2008. He is very socially conservative and believes in Creationism, but Crivella has more left-wing positions on economic issues. The UCKG is a highly controversial church, and Crivella has faced accusations of corruption – notably acting as an intermediary in fraudulent financial transactions involving the UCKG. The UCKG is also accused of electioneering for him, which is illegal.

Anthony Garotinho, who was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2010 with the second-most votes of any candidate in the country (over 694.8k votes), while his candidate for governor won third place with 10.8%. This year, Garotinho ran for governor, strongly critical of Cabral and his successor Pezão. The candidate of the PR, he was also supported by the PROS and the tiny PTdoB. Originally the favourite, Garotinho’s chances faded in September as Pezão’s polling numbers surged and Garotinho finally lost the lead to Pezão in late September. In the last poll, on October 4, Pezão led Garotinho by 11 and Crivella by 14.

PT Senator Lindberg Farias was the candidate of a left-wing coalition including the PT, PV, PSB and PCdoB. A former communist and later a Trotskyst, Lindberg was the president of the National Union of Students (UNE) during the 1992 student movement for Collor’s impeachment (the so-called ‘painted faces’ of the Fora Collor movement). He served one term as a federal deputy for the PCdoB from 1994 to 1998, before joining the far-left PSTU. He joined the PT in 2001 and was elected mayor of the low-income Rio suburb of Nova Iguaçu in 2004 (reelected in 2008). He was elected to the Senate in 2010 as one of the candidates of the broad PMDB/PT-led coalition in that election. He has fought corruption allegations dating back to irregular contracts during his days as mayor; in 2013 a court convicted him of administrative dishonesty and suspended his political rights for 5 years, but the STF acquitted him in February 2014. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was federal deputy Romário (PSB), the famous and popular former football star. As federal deputy since 2010, Romário has won much goodwill and support because of his strong defense of children with down syndrome (like his 5-year old daughter) and other disabilities.

Dilma effectively endorsed all four leading candidates: Pezão, who also endorsed Dilma’s reelection (but famously put up signs showing him with Aécio and signs showing him with Dilma), Crivella, Garotinho (who was anti-Lula but seems to have calmed down) and Lindberg. Of course, that a PT President doesn’t endorse solely the PT’s candidate is a bad sign for said candidate. Lindberg never broke 10-12% in the polls.

In the first round, Pezão came out with a strong lead over his rivals, taking 40.6% of the vote. The main surprise was Crivella’s second place finish, ahead of Garotinho, who had been the runner-up to Pezão in all polls. Pezão would have preferred a runoff against Garotinho, a polarizing candidate with far higher ‘rejection’ numbers than Crivella. Pezão saw his popularity and notoriety increase steadily after taking office, and he managed to successfully dissociate himself enough from Cabral in the eyes of public opinion. His campaign team showed him as a calm, reasonable, hardworking man; in contrast to Cabral, known as something of a party animal and dilettante.

The major loser was the PT and Lindberg, who won only 10% of the vote. To make matters worse, the PSOL was only 1% or so behind the PT, placing a very strong fifth with 8.9% in the gubernatorial race. In Rio de Janeiro, the PSOL placed ahead of the PT, with 14.6% of the vote (fifth place with 7.6% for the PT). In Niterói, the PSOL finished second behind the PMDB with 18.6%. In Nova Iguaçu, Lindberg only placed third with 20.4%.

In the senatorial contest, Romário was elected in a landslide, winning 63.4% against only 20.5% for Cesar Maia, whose long political career is probably over after this new defeat. Romário led a very strong campaign, which crisscrossed the state and appealed to people of different social horizons. His life story, as the poor boy from a Rio favela who became one of Brazil’s best all-time football players, is also very attractive.

Crivella received the endorsements of Garotinho, Lindberg and the leadership of the PT-RJ. However, 10 out the PT’s 11 mayors in RJ endorsed the incumbent governor instead and Dilma refused to choose sides – instead, she appeared alongside both Crivella and Pezão at separate campaign events on the same day. Crivella is a useful and loyal ally to the federal government, while Dilma needs a good working relationship with the governor of Rio and the mayor of Rio (the PMDB’s Eduardo Paes) ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Romário (PSB) also endorsed the incumbent. Pezão’s runoff campaign was more offensive and negative than his first round campaign. He attacked Crivella for his ties to the UCKG, accused him of mixing religion and politics and waved the danger that the state government would be put at the service of the UCKG. He also played on Garotinho to point to a purported evangelical alliance. Pezão was finally reelected with 55.8% in the second round, and dedicated his victory to his predecessor.

In the second round, Crivella won some low-income municipalities in the Baixada Fluminense (Duque de Caxias, São João de Meriti, Belford Roxo, São Gonçalo) with a large evangelical population and some municipalities in the Baixadas Litorâneas mesoregion, which had backed Garotinho in the first round. However, Crivella lost in Campos dos Goytacazes, the Garotinho clan’s stronghold. In Rio de Janeiro itself, Pezão won 57.8%, with his best results coming from the affluent southern coastal neighborhoods and the downtown areas, while Crivella did best in the Zona Oeste (Santa Cruz) in the far-west of the city, a lower-income region with the largest evangelical population in the city.

In the election of federal deputies, the most popular candidate in RJ – also the third most popular candidate in Brazil – was seven-term incumbent Jair Bolsonaro (PP), a military reservist. Jair Bolsonaro is one of Brazil’s most controversial politicians – he is known for defending the use of torture, his open praise for the military dictatorship, crass sexist/rape apologist commentary (saying that he wouldn’t rape a deputy because she didn’t ‘deserve’ it), homophobic views (calling on fathers to spank their children to ‘cure’ them of homosexuality or ‘prevent’ them from being gay) and racism (against indigenous people, which he basically considers savages, and blacks, referring to interracial relationships as ‘promiscuity’). He was reelected with a much stronger vote than in 2010 – 464,572 votes (6.1%) compared to 120,646 (1.5%) in 2010. In second place was state deputy Clarissa Garotinho (PR), the Garotinho’s daughter, who won about 335,000 votes (4.4%). Incumbent federal deputy Eduardo Cunha (PMDB), one of the main leaders of the evangelical caucus, was reelected with 232.7k votes in third position. Chico Alencar and Jean Wyllys (an openly gay LGBT rights activist), two prominent PSOL deputies, were reelected finishing in 4th and 7th places respectively. Marco Antônio Cabral (PMDB), the son of former governor Sérgio Cabral (2007-2014), was elected to the Chamber in 9th place. Cristiane Brasil (PTB), the daughter of former federal deputy Roberto Jefferson (PTB) – the ‘whistleblower’ in the mensalão scandal in 2005 – was elected, finishing in 20th place. In RJ, the PMDB won 8 federal deputies (nc) against 6 each for the PR and the PSD. The PT won 5.

In the Legislative Assembly, Pezão’s coalition won 44 out of 70 seats. The PMDB is the largest party with 15 deputies against 8 for the PSD, 7 for the PR and 6 for the PT. The PSOL, as mentioned above, was one of the main winners of this election – especially in the city of Rio. Incumbent two-term state deputy Marcelo Freixo (PSOL), a human rights activist, was the most popular candidate for state deputy, winning over 350,000 votes. Samuel Malafaia (PSD), the brother of evangelical pastor/televangelist Silas Malafaia, was reelected, placing fourth overall.

Results of the presidential runoff by city district in Rio de Janeiro, RJ (source: G1/O Globo)

Rio de Janeiro was a key state in Dilma’s victory. She won 54.9%, down from 60.5% in 2010. Dilma lost over 10% from her 2010 result in the city of Rio, squeaking out an extremely narrow 50.8% victory over Aécio. She was defeated in the affluent liberal city of Niterói across the Bay from Rio, with Aécio winning 54.9% compared to Serra’s 47.4% four years ago. Dilma, however, held tight in Rio’s poorer northern suburbs, suffering less severe loses compared to 2010. She won 69.1% in Duque de Caxias, 63.9% in Nova Iguaçu, 66% in São João de Meriti, 74.8% in Belford Roxo and 68% in São Gonçalo. In the city of Rio itself, the results showed the typical division between the poorer north and the affluent south. Aécio won by huge margins in the affluent coastal areas in the Zona Sud – about 66% in Copacabana and Botafogo, 76% in Leblon, 70% in Gávea/Jardim Botânico, 78% in Ipanema and 78% in Joá (Barra da Tijuca). Dilma won the northern half of the city, albeit with far more modest margins in than in 2010. Marina had done quite well in Rio’s poorer northern districts in the first round, and some of those votes likely transferred to Aécio.


Rui Costa (PT)^ 54.53%
Paulo Souto (DEM) 37.39%
Lídice da Mata (PSB) 6.62%
3 others 1.47%
Otto Alencar (PSD) 55.88%
Geddel Vieira Lima (PMDB) 34.54%
Eliana Calmon (PSB) 8.41%
2 others 1.16%

The most populous state in the Nordeste, Bahia’s politics were until a few years ago traditionally dominated by carlismo, name after its patriarch Antônio Carlos Magalhães (ACM), one of the leading barons of the former PFL (now the DEM). ACM began his political careeer in the 1950s and was a civilian supporter of the military regime, although his opposition to Paulo Maluf’s 1985 presidential candidacy was key to Tancredo Neves’ victory in the electoral college. ACM served three non-consecutive terms as governor of Bahia – appointed by the regime for the first two, from 1971 to 1975 and 1979 to 1983, and directly elected to a final term from 1991 to 1994. ACM and his allies controlled the state government from 1971 until 2006, with the exception of 1975-1979 and 1987-1991. ACM was elected to the Senate in 1994 and his candidates won gubernatorial races in 1994, 1998 and 2002. In 2006, however, carlismo suffered an historic defeat in Bahia. Incumbent governor Paulo Souto (PFL), at the end of his second term as governor (he served from 1995 to 1999 and then from 2003 to 2006), was unexpectedly defeated by Jaques Wagner (PT), Lula’s then-Minister of Institutional Relations. The PT’s victory represented the victory of Lula’s policies – very popular in the Nordeste (he won 74.3% in BA in the runoff) – against the traditional conservative oligarchic politics of carlismo. In the senatorial race that same day, the incumbent PFL senator backed by ACM was also defeated, by former governor João Durval Carneiro (PDT), a one-time ally of ACM turned rival in the 90s.

A popular governor, Jaques Wagner was handily reelected by the first round in 2010, taking 63.4% in a rematch against Paulo Souto, who won only 16.1%. The PT was not in any way affected by the defection of national integration minister Geddel Vieira Lima’s PMDB, which had been a key ally in the 2006 race but which ran on its own in 2010 (with Geddel winning 15.6% in the gubernatorial race). In the 2012 local elections, however, the PT was defeated by ACM Neto – ACM’s grandson – in the mayoral race in Salvador, an historically anti-carlista city. Wagner’s second term has been more difficult, and the governor saw his popularity fall following strikes by teachers, the military police and the 2013 protests. The state government also took a turn towards austerity, blaming the ‘ticking time-bomb’ of pensions. The opposition blamed him for wasteful spending and mismanagement.

Term-limited, Wagner picked Rui Costa (PT), a federal deputy and Wagner’s former chief of staff, as his successor. The PT’s coalition included the PCdoB, PR, PDT, PP, PSD, PMN and PTB. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was outgoing vice-governor Otto Alencar (PSD).

The governing coalition, however, entered the race as major underdogs due to the low name recognition of the PT candidate and a strong opposition coalition. Paulo Souto (DEM), the former governor, ran again. However, this time, he was backed by a strong coalition associating the DEM to the PMDB and the PSDB, historical rivals of carlismo in Bahia. Souto tried to associate himself to ACM Neto, the fairly well-liked DEM mayor of Salvador. The coalition also included the PPS, PRB, PROS, PSC, PV, SD and a bunch of tiny parties. Geddel Vieira Lima (PMDB) was the coalition’s senatorial candidate.

The PSB, which had been part of the PT’s coalition four years ago, broke away to run independently (with the tiny PPL and PSL), with the candidacy of senator Lídice da Mata (PSB). Lídice da Mata, a former anti-dictatorship activist, has previously served as mayor of Salvador (1993-1996), state deputy (1999-2007) and federal deputy (1987-1991, 2007-2011).

Both Paulo Souto and Geddel entered their respective contests as the heavy favourites, although in both races their advantage fell over the course of the campaign as their PT/PSD opponents saw their support increase steadily. Yet, at the end of September, Paulo Souto still led the polls by 17 and Geddel by 4. It was only in the very last polls released, by Ibope on October 4, that they lost their leads: Paulo Souto was tied with Rui Costa, and Geddel now trailed by 4%.

While Costa and Alencar clearly had the momentum going into the first round and their victories were not complete surprises (although most expected the gubernatorial race would go to a runoff), their victories were unexpectedly massive. Even the exit polls failed to catch the decisive margins: they had Costa winning by 10, 49-39, and Alencar winning by 14, 51-37. In the end, Costa won by 17.1% and Alencar won by 21.4%. The size of the margin took most people by surprise, Paulo Souto chief among them. The PT-led coalition successfully boosted their gubernatorial candidate’s name recognition and tied the state race to the national election, while the opposition was unable to dissociate the two contests to play on the desire for change at the state level.

Costa’s victory is also a major victory for his political mentor and predecessor, Jaques Wagner, who leaves office after two terms but clearly intending to remain active in Brazilian politics. Wagner, a close friend and ally of former President Lula, is considered as a potential PT candidate for the presidency in 2018. As for Paulo Souto, after three successive defeats against the PT, he is likely at the end of his political career.

For the Chamber of Deputies, the PT won 8 federal deputies (-2) against 4 apiece for the DEM (-2), PP and PSD. Mário Negromonte Jr. (PP), the son of disgraced former cabinet minister Mário Negromonte, was elected in second place with 2.6%. Lúcio Vieira Lima (PMDB), one of the leaders of the rural caucus and Geddel’s brother, was the most popular candidate in the state although he was the only PMDB deputy elected from BA. Irmão Lázaro (PSC), a gospel singer, was elected in third place with 2.4%. Antônio Imbassahy (PSDB), a former mayor of Salvador (1997-2004), was reelected, finishing 11th overall.

In the Legislative Assembly, the PT won 11 seats against 8 for the PSD, 6 for the DEM and PMDB, an 5 for the PP and PDT. Overall, Costa’s coalition won a majority, with 33 out of 63 seats.

Rio Grande do Sul


José Ivo Sartori (PMDB) 40.4% > 61.21%
Tarso Genro (PT)* 32.57% > 38.79%
Ana Amélia Lemos (PP) 21.79%
Vieira da Cunha (PDT) 4.27%
3 others 0.97%


Lasier Martins (PDT) 37.42%
Olívio Dutra (PT) 35.31%
Pedro Simon (PMDB)* 16.08%
Simone Leite (PP) 10.58%
3 others 0.61%

Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil, has a distinctive culture and identity. The history of German and Italian immigration to the state has given a unique European flair to certain regions of the state (one of the whitest in the country), while the gaúcho positivism of the cattle-herding pampas has resulted in a long history of fiery and acrimonious politics which has produced several leaders of national importance (Getúlio Vargas, João Goulart, Leonel Brizola). Politics are unusually ideological by Brazilian standards, with a strong left (nowadays the PT) but strong conservative opponents as well. The PT has been strong in RS since its early days, particularly in Porto Alegre – it governed the city, uninterrupted, from 1989 to 2005. Since the 1980s, two features of riograndense politics stick out: a general shift from the left to the right (as noted above, RS has backed the loser in all but one presidential election since 1989) and a cursed governor’s seat. Indeed, no governor has managed to win reelection since it has been allowed – Antônio Britto (PMDB) lost reelection to Olívio Dutra (PT) in 1998, who himself lost reelection to Germano Rigotto (PMDB) in 2002, who himself lost reelection to Yeda Crusius (PSDB) in 2006 and who herself lost reelection to Tarso Genro (PT) in 2010.

Elected in 2006, PSDB governor Yeda Crusius quickly became terribly unpopular. Before even taking office, she imposed an austerity budget which alienated some parties in her own coalition. She faced several corruption allegations, most notably the Federal Police’s investigation of frauds and embezzlement in the state transit department. She lost reelection in 2010, placing third with only 18.4% against 54.4% for Tarso Genro, a former mayor of Porto Alegre (1993-1997, 2001-2002) and cabinet minister under Lula’s administration (education, institutional relations, justice).

Tarso Genro’s administration has been plagued by the highest debt in Brazil (213% of revenues, the only state above the 200% limit set by the fiscal responsibility law), conflicts with teachers over pay and low healthcare spending (below the 12% minimum). However, economic growth has been good in the state.

From the outset, it was clear that Tarso Genro would face a close reelection contest, although his condition was nowhere near as bad as his predecessor’s position in 2010. His reelection bid was supported by the PT, PCdoB, PR, PROS, PTB and two smaller parties. Olívio Dutra, the first PT mayor of Porto Alegre (1989-1992) and later governor (1999-2002), was the coalition’s candidate for Senate. Under his administration in the state capital, Porto Alegre became the showcase of the PT’s administration in Brazil in the 1990s, becoming famous for participatory budgeting. Defeated for reelection by the PMDB’s Germano Rigotto in 2002, Olívio Dutra also lost the 2006 election in the runoff to Yeda Crusius.

The PMDB in RS is, unlike at the national level, the PT’s traditional rival in state politics and its leaders generally lean towards the centre-right in national politics. In 2010, the PMDB’s gubernatorial candidate José Fogaça and former governor Germano Rigotto endorsed PSDB presidential candidate José Serra in the second round. The PMDB’s gubernatorial candidate this year was José Ivo Sartori, the former two-term mayor (2005-2013) of Caxias do Sul, the second largest city in RS. Before that, in the 1990s, he served five terms as a state deputy. His coalition notably included the PSB, which had supported the PT in 2010, as well as the PSD, PPS and several smaller parties. Sartori supported Marina’s presidential candidacy, and endorsed Aécio in the runoff. The coalition’s initial senatorial candidate was federal deputy Beto Albuquerque (PSB), but after he became Marina’s vice-presidential candidate in August, the coalition was left scrambling to find a replacement candidate. Incumbent PMDB senator Pedro Simon, a veteran of the Senate who has represented RS for three successive terms, ceded to the pressures of his party to come out of retirement to run for reelection. Pedro Simon had served in the Senate under the military regime for the opposition MDB (from 1979 to 1982) and was elected governor of Rio Grande do Sul in 1986, serving his term before running for the Senate in 1990. He was reelected in 1998 and 2006. He was one of the Senate’s most respected members, known as an independent and honest voice in an institution increasingly dominated by crooks, hacks and opportunists. Pedro Simon is also one of the few members of the PMDB generally opposed to the PT federal government, arguing that the PT wants to crush the PMDB and accusing the PMDB’s leaders of being complicit. However, at the age of 84 and with health problems, Simon did not participate actively in the campaign (following doctor’s orders).

The initial favourite to defeat the governor was incumbent senator Ana Amélia Lemos (PP), the candidate of a coalition including the PP, PSDB, SD and PRB. Elected to the Senate in 2010, Ana Amélia has been one of the most vocal opponents of Dilma. That being said, she did endorse PCdoB mayoral candidate Manuela d’Ávila in the 2012 mayoral race in Porto Alegre, against incumbent mayor José Fortunati (PDT). The national PP, led by senator Ciro Nogueira (PP-PI), officially endorsed Dilma’s reelection bid, but Ana Amélia campaigned for the party’s neutrality in the presidential race and she herself endorsed Aécio. The PP in RS has often been at odds with the national party. Although she was Aécio’s candidate in RS, electoral regulations forbade him from appearing in her TV ads. Little-known businesswoman Simone Leite (PP) was the coalition’s senatorial candidate.

The PDT, formerly one of the main forces in RS, has managed to retain some strength in recent years and it has been very much divided between those keener on working with the PT and those opposed to the PT. Vieira da Cunha, a federal deputy and ally of the late Leonel Brizola, was the PDT’s gubernatorial candidate, supported by the PV, PSC, DEM and PEN. The PDT’s senatorial candidate was Lasier Martins, a well-known journalist and TV host for Grupo RBS, the southern affiliate of the powerful Rede Globo media empire. He became an internet phenomenon with the 2006 publication of a YouTube video showing him receiving an electric shock live on national television. Given that he was knocked unconscious for a few seconds and ended in the hospital with a broken rib, he has said that he didn’t find the YouTube video funny. Lasier Martins didn’t take a stance in the presidential race (campaigning as an independent), but some critics considered him to be a conservative. However, he attacked Ana Amélia for her membership in the PP, the ‘party of the dictatorship’.

Ana Amélia was the favourite to face the governor in a second round throughout most of the campaign, but she saw her advantage diminish as Sartori’s support increased from 5% at the outset to 25% in the last poll. Sartori built his image as a strong critic of the PT governor but also as an humble, hardworking man; while PT attacks on Ana Amélia hurt her. In that last poll, Sartori and Ana Amélia were tied for second, with 25% each. In the actual election, with momentum on his side, undecideds broke heavily for Sartori, who did surprisingly well – finishing a strong first with 40.4%, finishing nearly 8 points ahead of the embattled incumbent. The PT did not expect such a turn of events, expecting a runoff against the PP’s candidate. With Ana Amélia’s endorsement, there was no doubt whatsoever that Sartori would easily win in the runoff. And win he did, by a decisive 22% margin. All of Ana Amélia’s votes likely went to Sartori, while the PT incumbent only won some votes from the PDT and PSOL. The divided PDT had made no endorsements. For the fifth successive election in RS, an incumbent governor lost reelection!

In the senatorial race, Lasier Martins (PDT), likely because of his notoriety as a regional TV star, was elected to the Senate, defeating the PT’s Olívio Dutra by a narrow 2.1% margin. Incumbent senator Pedro Simon, who as noted above did not/could not campaign much, placed a distant fifth with 16.1%.

In the presidential election, Aécio won RS with 53.5% in the runoff, a far narrower margin than his victories in the two other southern states. Aécio was victorious in the bellwether state capital with 53.9%, and totally flattened Dilma in Caxias do Sul (an affluent town settled by Italians), winning with 70.8%. Aécio won by strong margins in the mountainous region of the northern half of the state, in well-off rural municipalities settled by Germans and Italians; Dilma did better in the pampas of the south, where an old left-leaning positivist republican tradition may still be strong.

In the Chamber of Deputies, four-term incumbent Luis Carlos Heinze (PP), one of the ‘rural caucus’ members with a history of racist/homophobic comments, was the most popular candidate overall. The state’s delegation includes 8 deputies from the PT (nc), 5 from the PP (-1) and 5 from the PMDB (+1). Among those defeated in the state were José Fogaça (PMDB), the former mayor of Porto Alegre, who placed 23rd; and former governor Yeda Crusius (PSDB), who finished 35th. In the Legislative Assembly, the new governor’s coalition only won 13 out of 55 seats – 8 for the PMDB, 3 for the PSB and 1 each for the PPS and PSD, but he could likely count on backing from the PDT (8), PP (7), PSDB (4) and PTB (5). The most popular candidate for the state legislature was two-term federal deputy Manuela d’Ávila (PCdoB), who won 3.6%.



Beto Richa (PSDB)* 55.67%
Roberto Requião (PMDB) 27.56%
Gleisi Hoffmann (PT) 14.87%
5 others 1.9%


Álvaro Dias (PSDB)* 77%
Ricardo Gomyde (PCdoB) 12.51%
Marcelo Almeida (PMDB) 8.73%
5 others 1.76%

The incumbent PSDB governor of Paraná, Beto Richa, was reelected to a second term in office and confirms himself as one of the party’s rising talents. Incumbent senator Álvaro Dias (PSDB), was reelected in a record-breaking landslide. However, Richa’s reelection was far from a certainty a few months ago.

Beto Richa is the son of José Richa, a former governor of Paraná (1983-1986). After serving as state deputy and deputy mayor of Curitiba, the state capital, Beto Richa was elected mayor of Curitiba in 2004. He made his name as an extremely successful and popular mayor, investing heavily in infrastructure, social services, transit and sustainable development. He was reelected to a second term in 2008, winning no less than 77.3% of the vote. Two years into his second term as mayor, Richa stepped down to run for governor, winning in the first round against senator Osmar Dias (PDT). Richa has been fairly popular as governor, with successful policies to attract investors/employers, reduce infant mortality, help poor families and transferring more resources to municipalities. The state government, however, has faced troubles with high spending on public sector payrolls, forcing Richa to freeze certain projects. He has repeatedly claimed that his state is discriminated against by the federal government, citing a dramatic reduction in federal transfers.

Despite his popularity, Richa suffered an embarrassing setback in the 2012 municipal elections in Curitiba. His successor as mayor, Luciano Ducci (PSB), was unexpectedly defeated by the first round as he sought reelection. In the second round, Gustavo Fruet (PDT) was elected. Fruet, a former PSDB federal deputy, defected to the PDT after being passed over for the PSDB’s mayoral nomination. Instead, he teamed up with his former rivals, including the PT. Although Lula did not endorse him and many within the PT were suspicious of him because of his past vocal criticisms of Lula, he received the support of Gleisi Hoffmann, a PT senator and Dilma’s Chief of Staff. After the 2012 local elections, Gleisi Hoffmann was seen as a formidable opponent to the incumbent governor, who was criticized as an unimpressive paper tiger by many in his party.

Richa’s reelection bid was backed by a wide coalition led by the PSDB and including the PROS, PSD, PSB, DEM, PPS, PSC, PR, PTB and SD. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was incumbent senator Álvaro Dias, a very popular senior politician who has served two consecutive terms in the Senate since 1999 and was governor of the state from 1987 to 1991. However, Álvaro Dias is something of a maverick and a loose cannon, with shaky partisan loyalty. In 2010, he tried to become the PSDB’s gubernatorial candidate, challenging the party’s favourite Beto Richa. Unsuccessful in his attempt, he instead supported the candidacy of his brother, Osmar Dias (PDT), which further soured things with Richa and the PSDB. The senator remained critical of the governor until both reconciled in a marriage of convenience for this year’s election.

A very divided PMDB narrowly chose to support an independent gubernatorial candidacy, that of incumbent senator and former governor Roberto Requião, rather than endorse the governor’s reelection campaign. Requião, another big name in state politics, served three terms as governor (1991-1994, and 2003 to 2010) and was elected to the Senate in 2010. On the national stage, Requião endorsed Dilma. Marcelo Almeida, a little-known former federal deputy, was the PMDB’s senatorial candidate.

Gleisi Hoffmann (PT), elected to the Senate in 2010 and serving as Dilma’s Chief of Staff from June 2011 until February 2014, was the candidate of a coalition led by the PT and including the PCdoB, PDT, PRB and PTN. During the campaign, Gleisi faced allegations (which she denies) that her 2010 senatorial campaign had received illegal funds from the Petrobras scandal. Ricardo Gomyde (PCdoB), a former federal deputy, was the sacrificial lamb candidate for Senate.

Beto Richa was easily reelected, winning 57.7% by the first round, trouncing his opponents – Requião won 27.6% and Gleisi won only 14.9%. Beto Richa’s victory certainly confirms him as a rising star in the party, although he’s unlikely to be presidential material just yet, especially as 2018 already has strong PSDB hopefuls in Aécio and Alckmin. Gleisi Hoffmann’s huge defeat is a particularly heavy blow to the PT, which had fancied its chances after the 2012 election in Curitiba. In the senatorial contest, Álvaro Dias was reelected with no less than 77% against token opposition. Proportionally, he was the most popular senator elected in this cycle. His victory was never in doubt.

The state’s most popular candidate for the Chamber of Deputies was Christiane Yared (PTN), whose son was killed in car accident in 2009 by a drunk state deputy driving at 190km/h. Luciano Ducci (PSB), the former mayor of Curitiba, was elected in seventh place. Zeca Dirceu (PT), the son of José Dirceu, was reelected, placing eight overall. On the whole, the PP, PT and PMDB won the most seats with 4 deputies each.

In the Legislative Assembly, the most popular candidate was Ratinho Junior (PSC), a two-term federal deputy and runner-up in the 2012 mayoral race in Curitiba. He is the son of Ratinho, a former politician-turned-popular TV host (a Brazilian Jerry Springer). Ratinho Junior won 5.2% of the vote, and his success allowed the PSC to gain 10 seats, from 2 seats to 12 in the Legislative Assembly – in the process, becoming the largest party. Overall, Richa has a large majority, with 36 out of 54 seats, although the PSDB only holds 7 of these.

In the presidential race, Aécio won 61% of the vote in Paraná, a fairly wealthy southern state. In Curitiba, the predominantly middle-class state capital, Aécio won 72.1% in the second round. He also won by large margins in Londrina and Maringá, the two other large cities in PR. Dilma was only successful in more remote rural municipalities in the interior, a poor and historically less developed region of the state.



Paulo Câmara (PSB)^ 68.08%
Armando Monteiro (PTB) 31.07%
4 others 0.86%


Fernando Bezerra Coelho (PSB) 64.34%
João Paulo (PT) 34.8%
3 others 0.86%

Former governor Eduardo Campos, first elected in 2006 and reelected with one of the largest margins in Brazilian history in 2010, resigned his gubernatorial office in April 2014 to run for President. As he left office, Campos was still one of the most popular governors in Brazil. In his second term, Campos continued building on the projects which had made him so popular in his first term. As previously noted, Campos reformed education, extended the school day, attracted a host of new industries to the state, opened new hospitals, teamed up with NGOs and the private sector to reform education and healthcare, challenged public sector unions, worked to tackle poverty, emphasized government transparency and implemented several successful and internationally-recognized programs to tackle gender inequality or crime. As a result of his competent administration, the state enjoyed solid growth, educational outcomes improved, infant mortality decreased, life expectancy increased and the homicide rate fell significantly. In his second term, the state government took out over R$ 2 billion in loans from the IBRD or the IDB. His opponents in the state claimed that he was promising things which he could not deliver and that, with such big loans, he was shifting the bill to future generations. In December 2013, however, Campos was the second-most popular governor in Brazil with 58% evaluating his administration as good or very good. We all know the tragic ending to the story.

Before his untimely death, Campos had chosen Paulo Câmara (PSB), his finance secretary since 2011, as his anointed successor. He was not widely known at the outset, but low name recognition hadn’t hurt Campos’ handpicked 2012 mayoral candidate in Recife, Geraldo Júlio (PSB), who won with 51.2% in the first round. The PSB’s candidate was backed by a massive coalition including the PMDB, PSDB, DEM, PCdoB, PSD, PR, PPS, SD, PROS, PP and several smaller parties. This coalition included former rivals of the PSB in state politics, most notably the PMDB, led by Jarbas Vasconcelos, the longtime political opponent of Campos’ grandfather Miguel Arraes. Jarbas had served two terms as mayor of Recife (1986-1988, 1993-1996) and as governor of Pernambuco (1999-2006), before he was elected to the Senate in 2006; he is a vocal opponent of the federal government and was the traditional rival of the PSB in state politics since 1990. In 2010, Jarbas ran for governor against Campos, but he was trounced 82.8% to 14.1%. As Campos’ PSB distanced itself from the state and national PT beginning with the 2012 municipal elections, in the process it moved closer to the PMDB, which supported the PSB in the 2012 mayoral race in Recife. Jarbas did not run for reelection to the Senate but ran for the Chamber of Deputies, while he chose his ally, federal deputy Raul Henry (PMDB) as Câmara’s running-mate. The DEM (ex-PFL) is also a former rival of the PSB, having been allied with Jarbas’ PMDB from 1998 to 2010 (and Campos defeated incumbent PFL governor Mendonça Filho in 2006). The PSDB is also a former rival. The Senate candidate was Fernando Bezerra Coelho (PSB), the former Minister of National Integration (2011-2013). He comes from a political family (his uncle Nilo Coelho was a ‘bionic’ governor of PE under the dictatorship) and has previously served three terms as mayor of Petrolina, two terms as federal deputy, one term as state deputy in the 1980s and was Campos’ secretary of economic development from 2007 to 2010. He is also a party hopper, having started his career in the conservative pro-regime PDS, before joining the PFL, PMDB, PPS and finally the PSB.

Senator Armando Monteiro (PTB), the former president of the National Confederation of Industry, was the gubernatorial candidate of a coalition supported by the PT, PTB, PTB, PSC, PRB and PTdoB. The senatorial candidate was João Paulo, the former PT mayor of Recife between 2001 and 2009 and outgoing federal deputy.

Largely unknown, Paulo Câmara stood at 13% in the polls in late August (before the beginning of the official campaign) against 47% for Monteiro. However, benefiting from far more TV airtime than Monteiro, strong support from the late governor’s family, sympathy votes for Campos and running on promises to continue Campos’ popular policies, Câmara soon gained a massive lead. He was elected in the first round with 68.1%, and Fernando Bezerra Coelho was elected to the Senate with 64.3%.

The PSB and its allies also dominated contests for the Chamber of Deputies and the Legislative Assembly. The PSB won 8 federal deputies, up from 5 in 2010, against 4 for the PTB (nc). The PT, which had 4 seats in PE in 2010, lost every single one of them. The most popular candidates were incumbents Eduardo da Fonte (PP, 6.3%), evangelical Pastor Eurico (PSB, 5.2%) and the old Jarbas (PMDB, 5.1%). In the Legislative Assembly, the new governor’s coalition commands a huge majority, holding 36 out of 49 seats, including 15 for the PSB. The PTB is the largest opposition party.

Results by municipality of the first round of the presidential election in PE (source: G1/O Globo)

In the first round of the presidential election, Marina won the state with 48.1% against 44.2% for the incumbent President (who nevertheless went on to win PE with over 70% in the runoff), a victory which has been largely attributed to sympathy votes for the late Eduardo Campos. Geographically, there was a highly interesting divide in the state’s vote in the first round. As the map to the right shows, Marina was victorious in the coastal region and inland municipalities located not far away from the coast – the regions known as the Zona da Mata (ages ago, a forested region, which has historically been dominated by the sugar cane industry) and the Agreste (a transition zone), including the Recife metro area. In Recife, Marina won 63.3% of the vote and did similarly well (62.1%) in suburban Olinda. She also won 59.7% in Caruaru, the main city in the Pernambuco agreste. The coastal region is the most densely populated, urbanized and comparatively most economically developed region in the state (it is not significantly more affluent than the rest of the state, Recife excluded, but it does have a more formalized economy). Dilma, on the other hand, dominated the inland semi-arid sertão and a lot of the non-urban parts of the agreste; in fact, she won over 70% and 80% of the vote in a good number of municipalities in the sertão. This region, as noted a few times above, is the poorest region in the country. The divide was very clear-cut: Dilma won all but one of the municipalities in the sertão, while losing the vast majority of municipalities in the Zona da Mata and Recife metro. There was, however, no similar divide in the second round: Dilma won all but one of the municipalities in the state, including Recife (with a smaller 59.2%).

The PSB is utterly dominant in Pernambuco: the governorship, the largest bench in the Legislative Assembly, one of the three senators’ seat (the two others, Monteiro and the PT’s Humberto Costa, were elected in 2010 on Campos’ slate), command of the state’s caucus in the Chamber and the mayoralty of Recife.



Camilo Santana (PT)^ 47.81% > 53.35%
Eunício Oliveira (PMDB) 46.41% > 46.65%
Eliane Novais (PSB) 3.39%
Ailton Lopes (PSOL) 2.4%


Tasso Jereissati (PSDB) 57.91%
Mauro Filho (PROS) 39.37%
Geovana Cartaxo (PSB) 1.67%
Raquel Dias (PSTU) 1.05%

Ceará’s state politics have been dominated by two names since the 1980s: Tasso Jereissati and the Gomes brothers, namely Ciro and Cid Gomes. Tasso Jereissati, a businessman and son of a former senator, was elected governor of Ceará (for the PMDB) for the first time in 1986, and was a successful and highly-praised reformist governor who promised a break from the old clientelistism and corruption. Highly popular, he successfully managed to elect Ciro Gomes (PSDB, but who began his career on the right with the military regime’s parties) as his successor in 1990 before returning to the office himself in 1994, again with Gomes’ backing. Ciro Gomes served as Minister of Finance from September 1994 to January 1995, during high-stakes economic times for Brazil. Tasso was an ally of tucano President FHC, but Ciro left the PSDB to join Roberto Freire’s PPS and ran as that party’s candidate in the 1998 and 2002 presidential elections (11% and 12% respectively); nonetheless, both men remained allies at the state level, and Ciro backed Tasso’s easy reelection bid in 1998. In 2002, Tasso’s candidate, Lúcio Alcântara (PSDB) was elected governor in a very close race against the PT, while Tasso was elected to the Senate. In 2006, however, Tasso, despite being a vocal opponent of the Lula government, did not back Alcântara’s reelection bid and instead supported, alongside Lula’s PT, the candidacy of Cid Gomes (PSB), the brother of Ciro Gomes (who had served as Lula’s Minister of National Integration from 2003 to 2006). The Gomes brothers and Tasso, however, had a falling out over the course of Cid’s first term. In 2010, Cid Gomes (PSB) was handily reelected by the first round, defeating Tasso’s candidate and former governor Lúcio Alcântara (PR). In an unexpected twist, Tasso lost reelection in the senatorial race, being defeated by José Pimentel (PT) and Eunício Oliveira (PMDB), both candidates strongly supported by Lula (eager to defeat Tasso, a vocal critic of his).

The Gomes brothers have had a complicated relationship with the PT and the federal government since 2003. Ciro ran for president against Lula and others in 1998 and 2002, in 2002 his candidacy was scuttled by his crude mannerisms (he said that his wife’s role in his campaign was to sleep with him) and motormouth. In 2010, Ciro wished to be the PSB’s presidential candidate, but he was tossed aside by members of the PSB who wanted to support Dilma’s candidacy instead; quite displeased, Ciro did not campaign for Dilma in the first round and only reluctantly came out for her in the second round. At the state level, however, the PT (and the PMDB) was part of Cid Gomes’ coalition. In 2012, the Gomes brothers’ PSB clashed with the PT in the municipal election in Fortaleza, and their PSB candidate ultimately narrowly defeated the PT’s candidate. This year, in an amusing twist, it was the Gomes brothers who wanted the PSB to support Dilma and opposed Eduardo Campos’ presidential candidacy; they left the PSB in 2013 to join the PROS, a nondescript party founded in 2010. Several other high-ranking members of the state government and top politicians in CE followed the Gomes brothers to the PROS, including the mayor of Fortaleza and the vice-governor (from the PMDB). The PROS is a ‘party for hire’, and there have already been internal disputes between the Gomes brothers and other members of the PROS, so these party-hopping brothers may end up with the PT soon.

Cid Gomes’ second term saw the government contract more loans to finance big investment projects, some of them white elephants. The opposition attacked the government for some wasteful spending and delays in the inauguration of projects. In 2013, Cid ran into controversy with a teachers’ strike asking for higher wages; he dismissed the strike and, with his family’s legendary verbosity, said that if teachers weren’t happy about their pay they should go work in private schools. That same year, he also proposed a senseless bill to create some kind of ‘security area’ (compared by critics to a UN no-fly zone) around the person of the governor.

There were several rifts in the governing coalition ahead of this year’s elections. The PMDB, which had backed Cid in 2010, broke away and supported the candidacy of Senator Eunício Oliveira, a former ally of the Gomes brothers who claimed that, in 2010, Cid had promised to support him in 2014 (but no such support was forthcoming when the time came). Eunício struck a strategic alliance with the PSDB – Aécio and the national party pushed a reluctant Tasso, a strong local politician, to make a political comeback in 2014 after announcing, in 2010, that he would not run for office. Tasso accepted and ran for Senate as Aécio’s candidate. Besides the PMDB and the PSDB, Eunício was backed by the PR (an ally of the PSDB), DEM, PPS and four smaller parties. Although Tasso was Aécio’s main organizer and representative in the Nordeste, Eunício supported Dilma.

By breaking from the PSB and moving very close to Dilma and the PT, the Gomes brothers created a lot of unplanned uncertainty as to Cid’s succession. One early potential candidate, ports minister Leônidas Cristino (PSB), did not follow the Gomes brothers out of the PSB. Ultimately it was a dark-horse, Camilo Santana (PT), who was selected as the governor’s candidate (very late, in June). Camilo Santana is a state deputy who served in Cid’s governments as agrarian development secretary (2007-2010) and as cities secretary (2010-2012). Besides the PT and the PROS, the coalition included a ton of smaller parties including the PCdoB, PP, PDT, PTB, PV, PSD and SD. Incumbent senator Inácio Arruda (PCdoB) retired, after being humiliated in the 2012 mayoral race in Fortaleza. Mauro Filho (PROS), a five-term state deputy close to the Gomes brothers, and the son of former senator and incumbent federal deputy Mauro Benevides (PMDB), was the coalition’s senatorial candidate.

There was also a PSB candidate and a PSOL/PSTU/PCB far-left coalition.

In the first round, Camilo (PT) came out narrowly ahead of Eunício (PMDB), the early favourite, edging him out 47.8% to 46.4%. The first round campaign had been particularly acrimonious, with a steady exchange of insults from members of the two main coalitions. Eunício alleged that his opponent benefited from the use of the state government’s machinery, a claim which Cid denied, instead claiming his coalition was persecuted by ‘militias’. 2,500 federal troops were deployed to Ceará for the second round. Runoff polling gave a slight edge to Camilo (although all indicated a close contest), despite the PSB’s endorsement of Eunício. In the second round, Camilo was elected with 53.4% against 46.7% for Eunício.

In the senatorial race, as widely expected, Tasso regained a spot in the Senate without any trouble. He won 57.9%, against some 39% for the Gomes’ candidate. Therefore, in the end, the two main races in Ceará resulted in victories for the state’s two big politicians: the Gomes clan and Tasso.

In the Chamber of Deputies, the most popular candidate was Tasso ally and incumbent federal deputy Moroni Torgan (DEM, 6.4% – fun fact of the day is that he’s a Mormon). Former Fortaleza mayor Luizianne Lins (PT) was elected, placing ninth with 3% of the vote. The PT won the most federal deputies (4, unchanged), while the PMDB won 3 (-2) and the PROS took 3 as well; the PSB, which had elected 4 deputies in 2010, elected nobody. In the Legislative Assembly, Camilo will have the support of 30 out of 46 state deputies, 12 of them from the PROS but only 2 from the PT. The PMDB, with 6 state deputies, is the largest opposition party. Ivo Gomes (PROS), another Gomes brother, was reelected as state deputy, finishing 11th.



Simão Jatene (PSDB)* 48.48% > 51.92%
Helder Barbalho (PMDB) 49.88% > 48.08%
Zé Carlos do PV (PV) 1.23%
1 other 0.41%


Paulo Rocha (PT) 46.3%
Jefferson Lima (PP) 21.92%
Mário Couto (PSDB)* 18.46%
Helenilson Pontes (PSD) 9.27%
Marcela Tolentino (SD) 2.79%
2 others 1.26%

Pará is a vast, sprawling state in the north of Brazil – by land area, it is the second largest state. In 2011, there was a plebiscite to create two new states – Carajás and Tapajós – out of parts of the state, but the vote failed because the entire state voted, and what would have been the rump Pará (but the most populous and economically developed of the three states) around Belém soundly rejected the proposals (with over 90%) and its weight drowned the very strong support for separation (over 90%) in what would have been Carajás and Tapajós. Outside the Belém metro area and a few isolated cities (Santarém, Abaetetuba), the state is sparsely populated. With a ‘wild north’ nature in parts (would-be Carajás has some of the highest homicide rates in Brazil), the state’s politicians are quite corrupt.

In 2010, former governor Simão Jatene (2003-2006) was reelected to his old job, defeating unpopular incumbent governor Ana Júlia Carepa (PT) in the second round. Jatene has been a rather unpopular governor since taking office, with Ibope’s December 2013 poll of governors’ approval ratings showing 39% of respondents in PA evaluating him as bad or very bad, making him the fifth least popular governor in Brazil. As governor, his government has invested more and increased revenues, but this has done little to improve the state’s poor social indicators. Education remains a major problem area, with Pará having the second worst education HDI in 2010, according to the Atlas do Desenvolvimento Humano no Brasil, and some of the lowest ratings on the Ministry of Education’s Índice de Desenvolvimento da Educação Básica. Violence has also increased, with a 9% increase in the homicide rate from 2011 to 2013. The governor explained his low popularity by saying that many of his projects are coming to maturity just now, and he promised to invest more in education and healthcare.

Despite indicating in 2013 that he would not seek reelection, Jatene ultimately did – citing the lack of alternative candidates in his majority. His gubernatorial candidacy was backed by the PSC, PSD, PSB, PP, PPS, SD, PTB, PRB and other smaller parties. At the national level, Jatene was supported by Aécio and Marina campaigned for him during the second round campaign. In Pará, senatorial candidates did not adhere to the gubernatorial race’s coalition, so incumbent senator Mário Couto was only supported by his party, the PSDB. Couto is a brash and fiery opponent of the federal government (he called for Dilma’s impeachment), but he is still under investigation in several cases of corruption. He is accused of embezzling money and rigging contracts (for a total of R$ 13 million) when he was president of the Legislative Assembly, prior to his election to the Senate in 2006; one of the most famous cases involved embezzlement of funds by a fake tapioca producer for an engineering contract. He also faces electoral crimes charges for racist and misogynist insults to a woman who refused to support one of his mayoral candidates. Couto and Jatene are on extremely bad terms; days before the June PSDB-PA convention, he said that he’d challenge Jatene for governor and called the governor a ‘traitor’ and ‘coward’ for not supporting his senatorial candidacy and instead supporting vice-governor Helenilson Pontes (PSD). Couto ultimately didn’t challenge Jatene, but he gave Jatene the cold shoulder at the convention.

The coalition also supported the senatorial candidacies of vice-governor Helenilson Pontes (PSD), evangelical radio host Jefferson Lima (PP) and local councillor Marcela Tolentino (SD). However, Jefferson Lima (PP), who had supported Jatene (and Dilma) in the first round, changed his mind and endorsed the opposition candidate in the runoff; he claimed that he only backed the governor because the PP did so and decried the lack of support he got from the PP or PSDB for his campaign, while Jatene actively supported the PSD’s candidate. The former mayor of Belém, Duciomar Costa (PTB), tried to run for Senate but faced an endless judicial process with the TSE and the Regional Electoral Tribunal (TRE) as the judiciary blocked his candidacy using the Ficha Limpa law (which renders ineligible for office anybody who is sentenced, has an electoral mandate revoked or resigns to avoid impeachment). As mayor, he was accused of illegal campaign propaganda during a prohibited period and use of the municipal machinery for personal gain. Just days before the vote, Duciomar’s appeal of the TRE decision blocking his candidacy was dismissed by the TSE.

The opposition’s candidate was Helder Barbalho (PMDB), a former state deputy and former mayor of Ananindeua (2005-2013). He is famous because of his father, incumbent senator and former governor Jader Barbalho (PMDB), whose name is synonymous with corruption. Jader Barbalho, a businessman who owns a big media group in the state, served two non-consecutive terms as governor – from 1983 to 1987 and from 1991 to 1994 – before successfully running for Senate in 1994. In the 1980s, as governor, he embezzled about R$ 2.5 million from the state bank (Banpará) in addition to an additional R$ 8 million he received from other sources. In 2001, just after becoming President of the Senate, Jader was accused of participating in frauds in the Superintendency for the Development of the Amazon (SUDAM), a government agency responsible for financing economic development projects in the north and the Amazon. Jader used his political influence in Pará to take control of SUDAM, appoint its directors and approve corrupt projects (in exchange for a bribe). In total, through all the fake and corrupt projects at SUDAM, over R$ 100 million in public funds were lost. The American documentary Manda Bala explained how Jader created ghost companies to embezzle public funds, or how he received $9 million for a $300k frog farm as a front for laundering money from illegal SUDAM projects. After a lengthy controversy, Jader resigned from the Senate to avoid impeachment in October 2001. He was arrested in February 2002, but released after only 11 hours in jail. In the 2002 elections, Jader was elected federal deputy from Pará and reelected in 2006. He stepped down to run for the Senate in 2010, and he placed second with nearly 1.8 million votes, but he was barred from taking office by application of the Ficha Limpa law by the TSE. However, the TSE’s decision was appealed to the STF by several corrupt politicians. In March 2011, the STF ruled that the law would be valid only beginning with the 2012 municipal elections and that it was not retroactive. As a result, Jader was allowed to take his seat in the Senate in December 2011. In July 2013, a federal court in Tocantins sentenced Barbalho to return a R$ 2.2 million bribe he had gotten from a SUDAM project. On October 7 of this year, the STF opened criminal proceedings against the Senator for financial crimes and money laundering in the SUDAM schemes. The incumbent governor didn’t miss any opportunity to question Helder about his father’s judicial travails or paint his opponent as the candidate of an old oligarchy.

Helder’s candidacy was supported by the PMDB, PT, DEM, PDT, PR, PCdoB, PROS and four tiny parties. Lula and Dilma both campaigned in his favour, especially Lula. Helder ran a vague fluffy campaign, talking about the need for ‘change’ and ‘dialogue’ or complaining that Jatene ignored the interests of communities outside Belém. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was another old corrupt name: former federal deputy Paulo Rocha (PT, 1991-2005 and 2007-2011). In 2005, at the time of the mensalão scandal, he was the leader of the PT caucus in the Chamber of Deputies and received R$ 820,000 from Marcos Valério. In 2010, he too tried to run for Senate and placed third with 1.7 million votes, but was barred from taking office by application of the Ficha Limpa law. In October 2012, he was acquitted by the STF in the mensalão scandal. His acquittal allowed him to run for Senate this year, despite some challenges to his eligibility.

The gubernatorial race was close throughout the campaign, and the first round was terribly close – it was unclear if somebody would manage to win outright or who would top the poll. Helder won 49.88%, coming very close to a first round victory, while the incumbent governor placed a bit over 1% behind him, with 48.48%. Helder would have needed only 4,205 additional votes to be elected by the first round, assuming the number of valid votes remained the same. Helder entered the gubernatorial runoff with an edge over Jatene, holding a 52-48 lead on October 16 (Ibope). However, Jatene gained late momentum by pounding Helder for his father’s corruption scandals, and a second Ibope poll on October 25 showed a perfect 50-50 tie. Helder may also have been too cocky, as he was apparently already preparing transition arrangements. In the end, Jatene won with 51.92%; he gained 113,427 votes while Helder lost 74,513 votes. As you can see here, Helder won most of the municipalities in the interior of the state, while Jatene won in the Belém metro, including 63.6% in the state capital.

In the senatorial contest, Paulo Rocha was easily elected with 46% of the votes in a divided field. Mário Couto, the incumbent PSDB senator, only placed third with 18.5%, while Jefferson Lima (PP), who surged late, placed second with 21.9%.

The PMDB and PSD elected 3 federal deputies each, against 2 for the PT. Edmilson Rodrigues (PSOL), a state deputy and former PT mayor of Belém (1997-2004), was elected federal deputy with 4.5%, the third most votes in the state. In the Legislative Assembly, Jatene holds an extremely narrow majority, with 21 out of 41 seats against 20 for the PMDB-led opposition.

Pará was one of the states where Dilma did better in 2014 than in 2010, doing 4.2% better than in 2010. She won 57.4% of the vote this year, even though she lost the state’s two largest cities, Belém and Santarém, to Aécio. In 2010, Serra won a lot of remote municipalities which have been colonized through ‘pioneer front’ capitalist agriculture.



Flávio Dino (PCdoB) 63.52%
Edison Lobão Filho (PMDB)^ 33.69%
Luis Antonio Pedrosa (PSOL) 1.14%
3 others 1.64%


Roberto Rocha (PSB) 51.41%
Gastão Vieira (PMDB)^ 44.67%
Haroldo Saboia (PSOL) 1.79%
Marcos Silva (PSTU) 1.69%
2 others 0.43%

The very poor Northeastern state of Maranhão has been politically dominated by the Sarney family since 1964, with very few exceptions. José Sarney, considered the longest-serving politician in Brazilian history, began his career as a federal deputy in 1955 (an office he held until 1966) and was a member of the conservative UDN. He was elected governor of Maranhão in 1965, one year after the 1964 military coup (which he supported), against candidates supported by Vitorino Freire, the coronel who had controlled Maranhense politics since 1945. At the conclusion of his term, he was elected to the Senate for ARENA, the pro-regime party (one of two parties allowed by the regime under the 1965 AI-2, the other being the tolerated opposition MDB), in 1970 and held that office until March 1985. Sarney, despite being (at times) a cautious maverick in the regime’s ranks, established himself as the political boss of Maranhão, although an intra-party rival (backed by Vitorino Freire) was appointed governor by President Ernesto Geisel in 1974. Candidates supported by Sarney won direct elections in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002 – although Epitácio Cafeteira, a former rival elected governor with Sarney’s support in 1986 became a rival again and was elected to the Senate as a Sarney opponent in 1990, the same year which José Sarney (after his presidency) was forced to flee to be elected to the Senate from the new state of Amapá. In 1990, the Sarney clan’s candidate, Edison Lobão (PFL), survived a tough challenge against former governor João Castelo (PRN), now an opponent, who was backed by Epitácio Cafeteira and President Fernando Collor (eager to inflict a defeat to his predecessor as President). In 1994, José Sarney’s daughter Roseana Sarney (PFL), after one term as federal deputy, was elected governor (the first woman to be elected governor in Brazil) with her father’s support against former governor Epitácio Cafeteira (PPR). She was reelected in 1998, and was elected to the Senate at the conclusion of her second term in 2002 (while another Sarney ally, José Reinaldo Tavares, was elected governor).

In 2006, Roseana Sarney (PFL) sought to return to the gubernatorial office, because the incumbent governor José Reinaldo Tavares had broken with the Sarney clan in 2004 and joined the PSB. She faced tough opposition from Jackson Lago (PDT), a former mayor of São Luís (1989-1992, 1997-2002) and longstanding opponent of the Sarney clan from the left, and a PSB candidate backed by the incumbent governor. Roseana led the first round with 47.2% against 34.4% for Lago and 14.3% for Edson Vidigal (PSB-PT). However, the alliance of the PSB with Lago allowed the PDT candidate to defeat Roseana in the runoff, 51.8% to 48.2%. Although the PT had, in the 1990s, been an opponent of the conservative and oligarchic Sarney clan, José Sarney and his daughter had proven to be loyal allies of Lula and the PT since 2003 and Lula supported Roseana (while Roseana, despite being in the opposition PFL, also supported Lula); on the other hand, Geraldo Alckmin, the PSDB’s presidential candidate, backed Lago. In May 2007, Lago’s new administration was shaken up by a Federal Police operation into corruption schemes in public works projects, during which two of the new governor’s nephews were arrested. The 2006 defeat was the first time the Sarney clan was defeated at the polls in a direct election, and obviously they weren’t good sports about it. A few months into his term, Lago faced accusations of electoral irregularities such as abuse of power and vote buying from Roseana, who challenged the election results. In March 2009, the TSE ruled in Roseana’s favour and declared invalid all votes cast for Lago in the 2006 election. In April 2006, Lago was forced to leave office and Roseana became governor (as she now had the most votes in the last election, with Lago’s votes voided). The decision was quite controversial, and Sarney’s rivals claimed that he was the victim of politically ingenious and legally questionable actions.

In 2010, the candidacy incumbent governor Roseana Sarney (PMDB) faced potential judicial roadblocks as she too had been sentenced to a fine for early electoral advertising, but her candidacy – and that of Lago – were cleared by the TRE. The Sarney clan as a whole had been the target of protests and corruption allegations in 2009 and 2010. However, Roseana was reelected by the first round with 50.1% against 29.5% for federal deputy Flávio Dino (PCdoB) and 19.5% for former governor Jackson Lago (PDT). The state PT voted to endorse Flávio Dino, but it was forced by the national leadership to back Roseana’s reelection campaign, because she was a useful and loyal ally of the federal government. That being said, several PT cabinet ministers and federal deputies backed the Communist Party’s candidate.

Roseana’s second term has been relatively unsuccessful. There were several prisoners’ revolts in a correctional facility in 2010 and 2011, and several cases of inmates’ deaths, torture and sexual violence against visitors in the same prison in 2013. Her government, in 2013, had only delivered 29 of the 72 hospitals it had promised. The problems in the prisons prevented Roseana from running for Senate.

With a term-limited incumbent, the Sarney clan lacked strong candidates. Senator Edison Lobão Filho (PMDB), the son of former governor Edison Lobão (PFL/PMDB). His father served as governor from 1991 to 1994, and was elected to the Senate from MA in 1994. He was named Minister of Mines and Energy in 2008, serving until March 2010 (to run for reelection to the Senate) and was reappointed by Dilma when she took office in January 2011, and has retained the portfolio since. While Edison Lobão serves as minister, his Senate seat is held by his son, who was elected as his first alternate in 2010. Edison Lobão Filho’s coalition was made up of the PMDB, PT, DEM, PR, PRB, PSD, PTB, PV and many smaller parties. Incumbent senator Epitácio Cafeteira (PTB), reconciled with the Sarney clan in 2006, retired and the coalition’s candidate was former federal deputy and Minister of Tourism (Sept. 2011 to March 2014) Gastão Vieira (PMDB). The PMDB-led coalition was officially supported by the Sarney clan, Dilma and Lula.

After his defeat in 2010, Flávio Dino (PCdoB) was appointed president of Embratur, the Brazilian tourist board, by Dilma. He resigned the job in March 2014 to run for governor. His candidacy was backed by a broad and diverse coalition of Sarney clan opponents: the PCdoB, PSB, PSDB, PPS, PP, PDT, SD, PTC and PROS. Aécio and Marina supported Dino’s campaign, and Aécio appeared at a campaign event with Dino a few weeks before the first round. After the first round, however, the local PCdoB switched its support to Dilma. At the local level, the coalition was backed by the mayor of São Luís Edivaldo Holanda Júnior (PTC) and the PSDB mayor of Imperatriz, the state’s second largest city. The party’s senatorial candidate was Roberto Rocha (PSB), the deputy mayor of São Luís and the son of former governor Luís Rocha (PDS, 1983-1987). Flávio Dino’s campaign was heavily focused on change, promising a clean government and an end to oligarchic politics and coronelismo in the state.

The campaign was fairly dirty: PMDB candidate Edison Lobão Filho was alleged to have offered R$ 20,000 to anybody who could find dirt to incriminate Flávio Dino, who had faced claims of administrative misconduct as president of Embratur. Flávio Dino also faced tough attacks from the governing parties and the local media, predominantly in the hands of the Sarney family; there were even ridiculous Red Scare tactics used against Dino, with the governing parties claiming that Dino would impose a communist dictatorship (even if that’s obviously impossible).

Flávio Dino was elected in a landslide, with 63.5% of the vote against 33.7% for Edison Lobão Filho of the Sarney clan. The PSB’s Roberto Rocha, by a closer margin, also defeated former tourism minister Gastão Vieira in the senatorial contest. It is the second electoral defeat for the Sarney clan, following the 2006 election; with the exception of 1974-1978 and 2007-2009, the Sarney clan has controlled the state government since 1965. It is hard to say if this is a temporary setback for the Sarney clan or if it is a fatal blow to their power, but many things indicate that time may be running out for them: the patriarch José Sarney retired this year, ending a political career which began in 1955, and in Maranhão the Sarney clan has not managed to renew its ranks. Regardless, 2014 marks an historic defeat for the Sarney clan in Maranhão.

In the Chamber of Deputies, MA’s bench will have 3 PMDB and PSD deputies, 2 from the PT and 9 seats for parties with only one seat. Sarney Filho (PV), José Sarney’s youngest son, was reelected to yet another term as a Green Party federal deputy (first elected in 1982), placing fifth with 3%. Former governor José Reinaldo Tavares (Zé Reinaldo) was elected federal deputy for the PSB, placing eight with 2.8%. In the Legislative Assembly, the incoming governor will face a hostile legislature: the parties which supported him won only 13 out of 42 seats, with the largest opposition parties being the PMDB and the Greens with 4 state deputies each.

Maranhão was Dilma’s best state with 78.76%, down very minimally from 2010 (79.09%).

Santa Catarina


Raimundo Colombo (PSD)* 51.36%
Paulo Bauer (PSDB) 29.9%
Cláudio Vignatti (PT) 15.56%
Afrânio Boppré (PSOL) 1.8%
4 others 1.38%


Dário Berger (PMDB)^ 42.82%
Paulo Bornhausen (PSB) 38.38%
Milton Mendes (PT) 14%
Sargento Amauri Soares (PSOL) 3.1%
3 others 1.7%

Santa Catarina was Aécio Neves’ best state in the second round, winning 64.59% – up significantly from 56.6% in 2010 – in the southern state. Yet, in the first round, SC reelected its pro-Dilma incumbent governor. Incumbent governor Raimundo Colombo was elected governor in 2010, at the time a member of the Democrats, with the support of outgoing two-term governor Luiz Henrique (PMDB), who was elected Senator on the same ticket. He defeated Ângela Amin (PP), a federal deputy and the wife of Esperidião Amin, a former two-term governor of SC (1983-1987, 1999-2003) and the traditional rival of the PMDB in state politics for the last 20 or so years. Luiz Henrique, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2006, won both races in tight runoffs against Esperidião Amin (PP).

Raimundo Colombo has since joined the PSD and has become a fairly loyal ally of the President. As governor, Colombo increased healthcare and education spending, but has faced criticism from the opposition for the rising cost of the public sector payroll, the creation of several new public agencies and increased violence in 2012 and 2013.

There was an interesting game of alliances played out prior to the election. Governor Raimundo Colombo’s reelection bid could count on the support of his PSD, but the PMDB was divided between those who wanted the PMDB to have its own candidate and those who wanted to support Colombo’s reelection. The former two-term mayor of Florianópolis, Dário Berger (PMDB), who left office quite popular but whose candidate was defeated by a PSD candidate backed by the governor, was among those who wanted the PMDB to have its own candidate. Incumbent senator Luiz Henrique, an ally of the governor, led those who wanted the party to endorse the governor’s reelection campaign. One of the issues dividing the PSD and PMDB was the opportunity for an historic alliance including both the PMDB and PP, rivals in the eight gubernatorial elections since 1982. In the past four years, both parties have enjoyed better relations as the PP came around to support Colombo’s administration. Raimundo Colombo wanted to have Joares Ponticelli, the PP president of the Legislative Assembly, as his coalition’s senatorial candidate. The PMDB, including Luiz Henrique, was largely hostile to the idea of an alliance including their historic rivals, especially as it would entail giving up a Senate seat to the PP.

In April 2014, a PMDB pre-convention voted to support Colombo, although about 40% of delegates rejected the alliance with the PSD. In June, the PMDB convention launched Dário Berger’s candidacy for the Senate, a decision which finally broke off the alliance with the PP, which said that it felt betrayed by Colombo and the PMDB. The PP opened talks with the PSDB and the PT instead.

The PSDB’s candidate was Senator Paulo Berger, elected to the Senate in 2010 on the same ticket as Colombo and Luiz Henrique. The PSDB’s decision to go alone this year ends an alliance with the PMDB which has lasted since 2002, and also breaks up the so-called ‘triple alliance’ of the PMDB, DEM and PSDB which had been victorious in the 2006 and 2010 state elections. The PSDB’s exit was inevitable after the governor’s PSD endorsed the President’s reelection. Starting out quite weak, Paulo Bauer gathered strength as he attracted the support of the PSB and the PP. The PSB provided him with his coalition’s senatorial candidate, federal deputy Paulo Bornhausen, the latest generation in one of SC’s most powerful political dynasties. His father, Jorge Bornhausen was vice-governor (1967-1971), governor (1979-1982), senator (1983-1991, 1999-2007) and minister (1986-1987); his grandfather, Irineu Bornhausen, was governor (1951-1956). Like his father, Paulo Bornhausen was a member of the PFL/DEM until recently, but he joined Eduardo Campos’ PSB, after flirting with the PSD but leaving it as it endorsed Dilma. Luiz Henrique, however, was initially open to welcoming Bornhausen as his coalition’s candidate. After the PP broke with the PMDB/PSD, it held talks with the PSDB and the PT; ultimately it decided to go with the PSDB, although it only ‘got’ the vice-gubernatorial slot on Paulo Bauer’s ticket, which went to Joares Ponticelli.

Colombo’s coalition, spearheaded by the PSD and PMDB, also included the DEM (Colombo’s old party), PRB, PR, PSC, PCdoB, PDT, PTB, PROS, PV and PSDC. Paulo Bauer’s coalition also included several smaller parties, besides the PSDB, PSB and PP. Colombo supported Dilma’s reelection, but Luiz Henrique was more reserved and was absent from a PMDB rally with Vice President Michel Temer in the last week before the presidential runoff.

The PT, led by former two-term federal deputy Cláudio Vignatti, decided to go alone, despite pressure from the national party to endorse Colombo. Luiz Henrique and others in the PMDB (including, as well, some of those pushing for an independent candidacy) approached the PT, hoping to add it to the PMDB-PSD coalition to replace the PSDB. Cláudio Vignatti, however, got his way, although at the cost of a weak candidacy without allies (the PCdoB, a usual PT ally, backed Colombo, for example). Ideli Salvatti, the human rights secretary and a former PT senator from SC (who was the PT’s gubernatorial candidate in 2010), gave halfhearted support to Vignatti’s candidacy but she did not run for any office – she had originally sympathized with Luiz Henrique’s idea of an alliance with the PMDB (where she could have been the candidate for Senate). The PT tried, unsuccessfully, to attract the PP, by offering the PP both the vice-gubernatorial slot and the senatorial candidacy. In the end, Milton Mendes, a former federal deputy in the 1990s, was the PT’s Senate candidate. The PT’s candidacy had no allies.

Governor Raimundo Colombo was reelected handily in the first round, with 51.4% against 30% for Bauer and only 15.6% for Vignatti. The strength of the incumbent governor’s alliance (with the powerful PMDB) and his relative popularity was more than enough to counter the anti-Dilma front assembled behind the PSDB and PSB. Paulo Bauer’s PP running-mate, Joares Ponticelli, is one of the major losers of this election, having failed to impose himself as a senatorial candidate earlier and ending up with no office at the end of the day. In the senatorial contest, Dário Berger (PMDB) emerged victorious from a much tighter race with Paulo Bornhausen (PSB), winning 42.8% to 38.4%. He overcame the hostility of Colombo and Luiz Henrique to his senatorial candidacy, and with the support of the governing coalition, Luiz Henrique and the PMDB’s engagement, he was able to narrowly defeat Bornhausen.

The powerful old man of the PP, former governor Esperidião Amin (PP), was reelected to the Chamber of Deputies as SC’s most popular candidate, with 6.8%. The PMDB won 5 seats, the PSD won 3 (replacing DEM, which won 0 this year but 3 in 2010), the PP, PSDB and PT won 2 each while the PR and PPS each elected one federal deputy. In the Legislative Assembly, the governor enjoys the support of 24 out of 40 state deputies, with the largest benches being held by the PMDB (10) and PSD (9) with the PT (5) as the largest opposition, ahead of the PP and PSDB.



Marconi Perillo (PSDB)* 45.86% > 57.44%
Iris Rezende (PMDB) 28.4% > 42.56%
Vanderlan Cardoso (PSB) 14.98%
Antônio Gomide (PT) 10.09%
3 others 0.67%


Ronaldo Caiado (DEM) 47.57%
Vilmar Rocha (PSD) 37.52%
Marina Sant’anna (PT) 11.07%
Aguimar Jesuíno (PSB) 2.97%
3 others 0.87%

Marconi Perillo and Iris Rezende have been the two big names in Goiás politics for about 20 years. Iris Rezende (PMDB) was first elected governor in 1982, with over two-thirds of the vote against the pro-regime PDS, and the PMDB’s comfortable victory with another candidate in 1986 paved the way for Iris’ return in 1990, winning by a large margin after suffering a car accident during the campaign which covered him in plaster from the neck down. In 1998, Iris, elected to the Senate four years earlier, ran for governor again, and entered the race as the heavy favourite. However, a smart opposition front coalesced behind young federal deputy Marconi Perillo (PSDB) quickly gained ground and upset Iris in the first round and won in the runoff. Despite corruption allegations and other controversies, Perillo was a popular governor and was reelected by the first round in 2002, against senator and former governor Maguito Vilela (PMDB). In 2006, Perillo’s popularity elected him to the Senate (with 75.8%) and allowed him to elect his successor, Alcides Rodrigues (PP), who defeated Maguito Vilela (PMDB) in the second round. Four years down the road, however, and Perillo had broken with Alcides Rodrigues and returned to run for governor, in a rematch against Iris Rezende (the incumbent governor backed a third candidate, Vanderlan Cardoso from the PR). Perillo won 46.3% in the first round against 36.4% for Iris, and went on to win 53% in the runoff.

As governor in his third term, Perillo improved the state’s fiscal situation by increasing revenues and cutting public sector jobs, allowing Goiás to take out more loans to finance infrastructure investment. The government faced a 51-day strike by teachers in 2012 and an 88-day strike by the Civil Police.

In February 2012, illegal gambling boss Carlos Cachoeira, who was making R$ 1-3 million per month with his illegal jogo do bicho operations in Goiás, was arrested by the Federal Police’s Operação Monte Carlo. Goiás Senator Demóstenes Torres (DEM), reelected on Perillo’s coalition in 2010, was accused (through police investigation of phone records) of leaking details of Senate meetings and using his influence and power in Congress to advocate for Cachoeira’s business interests in exchange for gifts. Demóstenes left his party and became the second senator in the Senate’s history to be impeached by his colleagues in July 2012. Perillo’s chief of staff resigned after phone records revealed that she had tipped off Cachoeira to a police operation in 2011. Additionally, Cachoeira would have paid for Perillo’s 2010 campaign expenses and he was arrested in a house which he had bought from the governor. Marconi Perillo’s approval rating took a major hit and he faced large protests in Goiânia, the state capital. The governor weathered the scandal, and his government focused on rebuilding his image after the scandal. In April 2013, the left-wing magazine CartaCapital revealed the existence of an internet spy/hacking network organized by the state government, which invaded social media profiles of opponents and created fake accounts to defend the governor. In December 2013, Marconi Perillo had average approval ratings, with 29% rating him as good/very good, 28% as bad/very bad and 40% as ‘regular’ – numbers very similar to those of SP Governor Geraldo Alckmin at the same time.

Although there was some speculation as to the governor’s reelection bid, there was in fact little doubt within the PSDB as to the governor’s intentions to seek a fourth term (a second consecutive) term in office. Perillo lost the support of the DEM, but retained the largest coalition with the PP, PDT, PTB, PR, PPS, PV, PRB, PSD and several smaller parties. Vilmar Rocha (PSD), a little-known federal deputy, was the governor’s candidate for Senate.

The PMDB was initially split between veteran state politician Iris Rezende and businessman Júnior da Friboi, who owns JBS, a Brazilian food processing giants. Júnior da Friboi called for primaries, but dropped out in May so as to not divide the party. In June 2014, Iris formalized an unusual alliance with his former political rivals – the Democrats (DEM), who had supported Marconi Perillo in 2010. Incumbent four-term Ronaldo Caiado (DEM), who had turned into a vocal critic of the governor, was placed as the coalition’s candidate for the Senate. A very right-wing opponent of the Dilma administration, Caiado comes from a family of powerful landowners in Goiás and is a conservative member of the ‘rural caucus’. Members of his family have been accused of employing slave labour on their lands, and Caiado has voted against a constitutional amendment which would allow for the expropriation of land whose owners are convicted of slave labour. Iris’ alliance with the DEM was described by several analysts as a very risky gamble, which carried far more risks than benefits to his campaign, given the long and continuing history of enmity between the PMDB and the PFL/DEM in Goiás. Several DEM mayors continued to support the PSDB incumbent, while DEM vice-governor José Eliton joined the PP and remained on Perillo’s ticket. Iris’ coalition also included SD, the PCdoB, PRTB, PTN and PPL. Federal deputy Armando Vergílio (SD) was Iris’ running-mate; he too is a former opponent.

Caiado is strongly anti-Dilma and supported Aécio, but Iris endorsed Dilma in the second round. Nevertheless, in July, Iris complained that Dilma’s government was giving too many resources to the state government and not enough to the PT administration in Goiânia.

In 2010, the PT had supported Iris Rezende – by stepping down as mayor of Goiânia (an office to which Iris had been elected in 2004 and reelected in 2008) to run for governor, Iris’ deputy mayor, Paulo Garcia (PT), became mayor of Goiânia. In 2012, Paulo Garcia (PT) was handily reelected as mayor of Goiânia in the first round with the PMDB and Iris’ support. This year, Paulo Garcia pressed for an alliance with Iris and the PMDB, but in April 2014, the PT chose to endorse the independent candidacy of Antônio Gomide, the PT mayor of Anápolis (the third largest city), who was reelected in 2012 with a massive 89% of the vote. The PMDB tried to get the PT to back down from running its own candidate, and unsuccessfully tried to pressure the national parties. Iris and Gomide may both have been hurt by the unpopularity of Paulo Garcia as mayor of the state capital – the mayor has faced several strikes which have paralyzed the city. The PT’s candidacy had no other allies. Marina Sant’anna, a PT federal deputy and 2002 gubernatorial candidate, was the PT’s candidate for Senate.

Vanderlan Cardoso, the former mayor of Senador Canedo who had run for governor for the PR in 2010 (placing a strong third), has since migrated to the PSB via the PMDB, and ran for governor a second time, this time with the support of Eduardo Campos and Marina Silva. Earlier, there had been speculation of a PMDB-PSB alliance, but the PMDB’s alliance with the DEM killed that idea.

In the first round, Perillo took a sizable lead over Iris, winning 45.9% to Iris’ 28.4%. In third place, the PSB’s Vanderlan Cardoso won 15% while the PT’s candidate won 10.1%. Perillo, however, lost in the state’s three largest cities: Goiânia and Aparecida de Goiânia (governed by former governor Maguito Vilela, also of the PMDB) voted for Iris Rezende, while the PT’s candidate won his hometown of Anápolis. The governor was victorious in the interior. Looking ahead to the runoff, Iris, in a very unfavourable position, tried to assemble a broad opposition front, claiming that since Perillo hadn’t won 50%, it was a victory for the broader opposition. Vanderlan Cardoso did not endorse any candidate, and Iris only received the support of the PT. As the heavy favourite, Perillo was reelected in the runoff with 57.4%. Perillo lost in Goiânia and Aparecida de Goiânia, but won in Anápolis (indicating an imperfect transfer of votes from the PT to the PMDB) and Senador Canedo (the hometown of the PSB candidate).

Marconi Perillo is (apparently) the first Brazilian politician to win four gubernatorial elections. Iris Rezende, on the other hand, after three defeats at the hands of Perillo, has indicated that he is retiring from active politics and will no longer run for office – although there’s already some movement to draft him for the 2016 mayoral election in Goiânia.

In the senatorial race, Ronaldo Caiado won by about 10 points. Former police chief Delegado Waldir Soares (PSDB), with 9.1%, was the most popular candidate in the state. State deputy Daniel Vilela (PMDB), the son of former governor Maguito Vilela, was also elected, placing second. The PSDB won 6 federal deputies, up 3, while the PMDB and PSD each won 2 (-2 for the PMDB). 7 other parties won one seat each. PMDB incumbent Iris Araújo, the wife of Iris Rezende, was defeated. In the Legislative Assembly, the governor’s coalition won 26 out of 41 seats – with 7 for the PSDB, 5 for the PSD and PTB and 5 for the PMDB, the strongest opposition party (the PT has 4 seats).

Aécio won 57.1% in Goiás in the runoff, up 6.36% from a very narrow victory in 2010 with 50.75%. Aécio was victorious in the state’s largest cities and the south of the state, a broadly more prosperous region, while Dilma mostly won in the north of the state, which is poorer.



Ricardo Coutinho (PSB)* 46.05% > 52.61%
Cássio Cunha Lima (PSDB) 47.44% > 47.39%
Vital do Rêgo Filho (PMDB) 5.22%
3 others 1.29%


José Maranhão (PMDB) 37.12%
Lucélio Cartaxo (PT) 29.93%
Wilson Santiago (PTB) 29.02%
Professora Leila (PROS) 2.56%
3 others 1.37%

Paraíba saw some weird and unique alliances, and reversals of past alliances, in this cycle. In 2010, Ricardo Coutinho (PSB), the mayor of the state capital João Pessoa was elected governor, defeating incumbent governor José Maranhão (PMDB) in a close election. Ricardo Coutinho was supported by former governor Cássio Cunha Lima (PSDB), who ran for Senate. Cássio Cunha Lima is the son of Ronaldo Cunha Lima, a former mayor of Campina Grande (1969, 1983-1988), governor (1991-1994), senator (1994-2003) and federal deputy (2003-2007). Ronaldo Cunha Lima was originally a member of the PMDB, but after he failed to win his party’s support to run for governor in 1998 – the PMDB preferred incumbent governor José Maranhão instead – he left the party and joined the PSDB. In 1993, while he was governor, Ronaldo Cunha Lima fired three shots at his predecessor, Tarcísio Burity, in a restaurant in the state capital. Tarcísio Burity spent days in a coma but survived the assassination attempt. Ronaldo Cunha Lima faced trial, but he was never sentenced for the attempted homicide. He died in 2012.

Cássio Cunha Lima followed in his father’s footsteps as mayor of Campina Grande (1989-1992, 1997-2002), also serving a short while as federal deputy (1987-1988, 1995-1996). In 2002, as the PSDB’s candidate, he was elected governor, narrowly defeating incumbent governor Roberto Paulino (PMDB), the candidate backed by outgoing governor PMDB José Maranhão (1995-2002), elected to the Senate. Cássio Cunha Lima was reelected in another very close race, this time against José Maranhão (PMDB), who was backed by the PT. However, just a few months into his second term, Cássio Cunha Lima’s mandate was revoked by the TRE for using a social program for electoral benefit in 2006 and later for improper electioneering through a newspaper. The TSE granted him an injunction, allowing him to stay in office until the TSE ruled on his case. In November 2008, the TSE confirmed the TRE’s ruling, although he received another injunction allowing him to retain his office until the process was finalized. In February 2009, governor Cássio Cunha Lima was finally removed from office, and the runner-up in the 2006 election, José Maranhão (PMDB), took office instead.

In 2010, governor José Maranhão ran for reelection as governor. Cássio Cunha Lima’s PSDB supported Ricardo Coutinho, the popular two-term mayor of João Pessoa (elected in 2004 and reelected in 2008). Coutinho was originally a member of the PT but he left the party in 2003 to join the PSB, where he remains to this day. The PT supported Zé Maranhão’s reelection bid. Cássio Cunha Lima ran for Senate, on Coutinho’s ticket, and won the most votes of any candidate, but the TSE and TRE barred him from taking office by virtue of the Ficha Limpa law. In March 2011, he was one of several 2010 candidates who benefited from the STF’s decision that the law was not retroactive, and took his seat in the Senate in November 2011. He has become a fairly influential legislator in the Senate. Somewhat controversially, the PSDB selected him to be one of their two senators on the parliamentary commission of inquiry (CPI) on the Cachoeira scandal.

Coutinho’s administration faced heavy criticism for the mounting costs of the public sector payroll, which accounted for about 49% of revenues in 2012 (the maximum). Political opponents claimed that the ballooning size of the public sector was a form of political patronage. The governor also fell short on two key promises: he promised a maternity ward in all 223 municipalities, but in 2013, 117 still had no maternity wards. He also never implemented a university scholarship. In December 2013, he had average approvals, with 39% good/very good and 27% bad/very bad.

Political alliances moved around considerably this year in Paraíba. In early 2014, senator Cássio Cunha Lima and his allies broke with governor Ricardo Coutinho and ordered the PSDB out of the state cabinet. The senator launched his own gubernatorial candidacy, which was cleared by the TRE. His coalition included the PR, PTB, PSD, SD, PPS, PEN, PP, PRB and several smaller parties. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was former senator Wilson Santiago (PTB), a former rival of Cássio Cunha Lima – in fact, he was elected to the Senate for the PMDB in 2010, as the third-placed candidate but second-placed since Cássio Cunha Lima’s votes were originally invalidated. In November 2011, he was the one who was forced to give up his seat to make way for Cássio Cunha Lima.

The PMDB ran its own ‘purebred’ candidacy: senator Vital do Rêgo Filho (elected in 2010) was the gubernatorial candidate, with former governor José Maranhão as the senatorial candidate (he already served in the Senate, from 2003 to 2009). Veneziano Vital do Rêgo, the brother of Vital do Rêgo Filho and the former mayor of Campina Grande (until 2012) was originally set to be the PMDB’s candidate, but withdrew blaming disloyalty in party ranks.

Ricardo Coutinho ran for reelection, but with a different coalition of supporters than in 2010. He lost the support of the PSDB, but he gained that of the PT, which had been in opposition to his government until only a few months ago. The PT, controversially, abandoned the PMDB and endorsed the PSB incumbent. The state PT, with the blessing of the PT mayor of João Pessoa Luciano Cartaxo, endorsed the governor’s reelection and Lucélio Cartaxo (PT), the brother of Luciano Cartaxo, was placed as the coalition’s senatorial candidate. The national leadership of the PT pressured the state party to endorse the PMDB. The national PT took the matter to the TRE, petitioning for an invalidation of the PT-PSB alliance. In August, the TRE upheld the alliance, and the TSE rejected an appeal of the TRE’s decision by the PMDB. The governor’s coalition also included the PDT, DEM, PCdoB, PV and some minor parties.

Ricardo Coutinho supported Eduardo Campos/Marina’s candidacy, while the PT supported Dilma, creating a bit of an unusual situation.

In the first round, Cássio Cunha Lima won 47.44%, placing a bit more than 1 point ahead of the incumbent, who won 46.1% of the vote. The race went to a second round. Ricardo Countinho received the endorsement of the PMDB’s Vital do Rêgo Filho and PMDB senator-elect Zé Maranhão, while in return he endorsed Dilma’s reelection – even if his national party, the PSB, endorsed Aécio in the runoff. Countinho was reelected in the runoff, with 52.6% of the vote, with the PMDB’s support being the decisive factor in the race. The governor’s use of Dilma’s image and her support in the runoff may also have helped out. The incumbent won 61.5% in João Pessoa, his hometown, and Cássio won 62.5% in Campina Grande.

In the senatorial race, Zé Maranhão was easily elected to the Senate, winning 37% against 29.9% for the PT and 29% for Wilson Santiago. In the Chamber of Deputies, the PMDB won 3 seats while 9 parties won one seat each. The most popular candidate, with 9.3%, was Pedro Cunha Lima, the political novice son of Cássio Cunha Lima. Veneziano Vital do Rêgo (PMDB), with 9.2%, was the second most popular candidate. In the Legislative Assembly, the governor will struggle with an unfriendly legislature: his coalition won only 12 out of 36 seats, with the PMDB (4 seats) split between pro- and anti-government voices. The PSB, with 5 state deputies, is the strongest party. The PEN, PMDB and PSDB are the strongest opposition parties, with 4 seats each. The PEN, which is a small party, likely did well due to the affiliation of the president of the Legislative Assembly with the party.

Espírito Santo


Paulo Hartung (PMDB) 53.44%
Renato Casagrande (PSB)* 39.34%
Roberto Carlos (PT) 6.01%
Camila Valadão (PSOL) 1.1%
1 other 0.11%


Rose de Freitas (PMDB) 46.23%
Neucimar Fraga (PV) 31.11%
João Coser (PT) 20.16%
André Moreira (PSOL) 1.9%
1 other 0.6%

In 2010, then-senator Renato Casagrande (PSB) was elected governor of Espírito Santo with a massive 82.3% of the vote. He was, at the time, supported by the very popular outgoing two-term governor, Paulo Hartung (PMDB). First elected in 2002, Hartung inherited a state which had been left in a sorry state by his predecessor: it was highly indebted with little access to credit, it had major administrative problems and lacked the capacity to make the necessary investments in infrastructure and social policy. He was reelected to a second term in 2006 with 77.3% of the vote in a first round landslide. His popularity helped Casagrande win by such a massive margin in 2010, but relations between the two men soured after 2011. Hartung’s supporters complained that the new governor was not grateful enough to his predecessor, and started criticizing the governor’s policies, notably his fiscal management. Since 2010, under Casagrande’s administration, the state revenues and investment have grown, as have its debt and personnel costs. Education has been a problematic area, with poor results on national indicators, but the government is prouder of its work on criminality, managing to reduce the state’s very high homicide rate. In December 2013, Casagrande enjoyed fairly high approval ratings.

In April, Hartung announced his candidacy. The PMDB was initially divided between supporters of the former governor, pushing for an independent candidacy, and those who supported a continuation of the alliance with Casagrande. Senator Ricardo Ferraço (PMDB), a rival of Hartung who was passed over for the gubernatorial succession in 2010 in Casagrande’s favour, initially announced his candidacy but later withdrew to support Casagrande. In June, the PMDB convention confirmed Hartung’s candidacy and in July, Ricardo Ferraço was forced to bow down and reluctantly endorse Hartung. Paulo Hartung was able to rebuild the alliance which reelected him in 2006, namely a PMDB-PSDB-DEM alliance. The PSDB and DEM had gone their own separate ways, but with Aécio’s support, the parties reconciled with the PMDB and put together a coalition which also included the PROS, SD, PEN and PRP. The senatorial candidate was Rose de Freitas (PMDB), a two-term federal deputy. Hartung, Rose de Freitas and Ferraço all supported Aécio from the first round. That being said, Rose de Freitas said, after Aécio’s defeat, that she shouldn’t be considered an opposition member, which is a very PMDB thing to say.

Renato Casagrande struggled, therefore, to hold his 2010 alliance – which included the PMDB but also the PT and PR. The PT drifted away from the governor, and things worsened with the rift between the PSB and PT at the national level. The PT ultimately had its own candidate (with the PDT), little-known state deputy Roberto Carlos (PT), but had a stronger senatorial candidate with João Coser, the former two-term mayor of Vitória. The PR, led by conservative senator Magno Malta (who tried, unsuccessfully, to run for President), reluctantly backed Casagrande. Casagrande’s coalition included the PPS, PRB, PR, PSD, PV, PCdoB, PP, PTB and some smaller parties. Neucimar Fraga, the former PV mayor of Vila Velha, was the senatorial candidate. Renato Casagrande tried very hard to keep the PMDB and PT on his side, notably by delaying his endorsement of Campos’ presidential candidacy until March, but was unable to do so. The PSB complained that the PMDB didn’t answer any of their calls. Casagrande supported Campos/Marina and endorsed Aécio in the runoff.

The gubernatorial campaign was quite nasty, with an exchange of accusations between the top two candidates. Both ran on their records and on attacking the record of their opponent, with Casagrande claiming that he had begun to implement major changes while saying that Hartung left behind a situation much messier than was originally said; Hartung criticized the governor’s record. Hartung was the favourite for much of the campaign, and was unsurprisingly elected to a third non-consecutive term, with the support of 53% of voters against 39.3% for the incumbent. In the senatorial race, the PMDB’s Rose de Freitas was also easily elected.

Upon his election, Hartung said that he was ‘correcting the mistake of 2010′, referring to Casagrande’s victory (with his support, at the time).

9 parties split ES’ 10 seats in the lower house of Congress, with 2 seats for the PT and 1 apiece for the others. Sérgio Vidigal, the former PDT mayor of Serra, was the most popular candidate, with 9%, thanks to massive support in his hometown. Despite his landslide, Hartung will lack a majority in the Legislative Assembly, controlling 13 out of 30 seats, although some of the smaller venal parties (PP, PSD, PMN etc.) could defect.



José Melo (PROS)* 43.04% > 55.54%
Eduardo Braga (PMDB) 43.16% > 44.46%
Marcelo Ramos (PSB) 10.94%
Chico Preto (PMN) 1.8%
3 others 1.07%


Omar Aziz (PSD) 58.51%
Francisco Praciano (PT) 34.44%
Marcelo Serafim (PSB) 5.73%
3 others 1.32%

For about 20 years between the mid-1980s and 2004, politics in the vast and remote state of Amazonas were dominated by Amazonino Mendes, who served three terms as governor (1987-1990, 1995-2003) and also served as mayor of Manaus (1983-1986, 1993-1994, 2009-2012). Many of the state’s current politicians were initially under his wing, although many later broke with him and ended up on different sides. Eduardo Braga (PPS/PMDB), initially an ally of Amazonino who ended up as a rival, was elected governor in 2002, soundly defeating veteran politician Gilberto Mestrinho (PMDB), and was reelected in 2006 against Amazonino himself. In 2010, Eduardo Braga – a very popular governor by then – stepped down to run for Senate, and his vice-governor and ally Omar Aziz (PMN) was easily elected to replace him, winning 63.9% against 25.9% for senator Alfredo Nascimento (PR), who was supported by Lula and the PT. Alfredo Nascimento had served as Lula’s Minister of Transportation from 2007 to 2010, and returned to that portfolio after Dilma’s election. However, he was forced to resign in July 2011 following a scandal in his Ministry: his party, the PR, demanded 4% kickbacks from contractors interested in government contracts – the money went to fill the PR’s treasury or ‘commissions’ to congressmen from states where those contracts would be.

In December 2013, Omar Aziz (now in the PSD) was the most popular governor in the country, with 74% of respondents rating his performance as good or very good, compared to only 7% who said it was bad or very bad. As governor, he dealt with a significant deficit, which forced the state government to freeze government procurement in late 2013. Analysts have explained Aziz’ popularity because of his ‘simplicity, competence and transparency’, a welcome change from past executives in AM. On the political front, however, relations between Aziz and Braga gradually worsened and the two split in 2013.

In April, Omar Aziz, who was term-limited, stepped aside to run for Senate. His vice-governor, José Melo (PROS), became governor. The governing coalition’s ticket was led by José Melo, seeking a full term as governor, and by Omar Aziz, running for Senate. The coalition was supported by Artur Virgílio Neto (PSDB), the mayor of Manaus. Artur was elected to the Senate in 2002, where he emerged as one of the most fierce critics of the government, but was defeated in attempts to run for mayor of the state capital (2004), governor (2006) and finally was badly defeated in his reelection bid to the Senate in 2010. In 2012, he was, however, easily elected mayor of Manaus over senator Vanessa Grazziotin (PCdoB), who had defeated him in 2010; his victory marked his political resurrection and he has reestablished himself as one of the state’s most powerful politicians. He did not run for any office this year, but put his weight behind Melo and Omar Aziz. His deputy mayor and former ally, Hissa Abrahão (PPS), however, backed the opposition candidate. The governing coalition also included the DEM, SD, PR, PV and many minor parties. Incumbent senator Alfredo Nascimento (PR), who would have been up for reelection this year, preferred not to run (he would likely have lost), instead endorsing the governing coalition (despite being a former rival of Omar Aziz) and running instead for federal deputy.

There were rumours that Artur, Aécio’s top backer in AM, had conditioned his support to the governing coalition to formal endorsements of Aécio. However, neither José Melo nor Omar Aziz officially endorsed Aécio – José Melo publicly said that he endorsed no candidate, while Omar Aziz remained silent about his choice. To please the mayor of Manaus, however, José Melo allowed him to use his TV ad time in the runoff campaign to ask voters to support Aécio (and the governor).

PMDB Senator Eduardo Braga, who was government leader in the Senate, ran for governor. He was supported by Dilma, Lula, the PT, PCdoB, PP, PDT, PTB, PPS, PRB and two smaller parties. Former mayor and governor Amazonino Mendes (PDT) also endorsed Eduardo Braga, his former rival (but also, way back when, his young protege). Francisco Praciano (PT), a two-term federal deputy, was the coalition’s candidate for Senate. Eduardo Braga was the favourite for much of the campaign, and although his advantage diminished as the incumbent’s name recognition increased, Braga still held a commanding 14 point lead (46-32) over the incumbent governor in Ibope’s poll on October 1-2.

Eduardo Campos/Marina Silva’s PSB ran a ‘purebred’ ticket, with state deputy Marcelo Ramos as gubernatorial candidate and Manaus city councillor Marcelo Serafim as senatorial candidate. The ticket was backed by Serafim Corrêa, a former one-term mayor of Manaus from 2005 to 2009.

The first round of the gubernatorial election was much closer than expected, with Eduardo Braga placing ahead, with 43.16%, but with only a tiny advantage over governor José Melo, who beat all expectations and won 43%. The governor likely benefited from the coattails of his ally, Omar Aziz, who was unsurprisingly elected to the Senate in a landslide, with the support of 58.5% of voters. José Melo had the momentum in the runoff campaign, and received the endorsement of the PSB and its third-place gubernatorial candidate Marcelo Ramos, but the final poll on October 22-25 by Ibope showed a perfect 50-50 tie between the two opponents. However, José Melo ended up routing Braga, winning 55.5% to 44.5%. One of the keys to the governor’s reelection was Manaus, which is by far the largest city in the state (with a population of 1.68 million, the second-largest city has only 100,000 people): benefiting from Artur’s support, he won 59.1% in the state capital.

Amazonas had the largest swing of any state in the presidential election. In the runoff, Dilma won 65% in AM, but this represented a loss of 15.55% compared to the 2010 election, when she had won her strongest national result in AM, with 80.6% of the vote. Amazonas had also been Lula’s best state in 2006. In Manaus, Dilma won 56.4%, down from 79.1% in 2010. I would guess that Artur Virgílio Neto’s political resurrection, notably in Manaus, can explain the significant anti-Dilma swing in AM.

Indeed, the most popular candidate for the Chamber of Deputies in AM was Artur Bisneto (PSDB), the son of Artur Virgílio Neto, who won 15.1% of the votes in the state. Evangelical pastor and incumbent federal deputy Silas Camara (PSD) won 10% and second, while outgoing senator Alfredo Nascimento (PR) placed third with 7.2%. The deputy mayor of Manaus, Hissa Abrahão (PPS), was also elected, placing fifth. 7 parties, overall, split the state’s 8 seats, with the PSD winning 2. In the Legislative Assembly, the governor has a majority, with 13 out of 24 seats, with the largest party being the PSD (4) and the PMDB as the largest opposition party (3).

Rio Grande do Norte


Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB) 47.34%
Robinson Faria (PSD) 42.04%
Robério Paulino (PSOL) 8.74%
2 others 1.88%


Fátima Bezerra (PT) 54.83%
Wilma de Faria (PSB) 43.23%
Professor Lailson (PSOL) 1.03%
1 other 0.9%

Politics in the Northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte have traditionally been dominated by two families: the Alves and the Maia. Allied to the military regime and its party (ARENA), the Maia clan ruled the state from 1975 to 1986 – with the bionic governors Tarcísio Maia (1975-1979) and his cousin Lavoisier Maia (1979-1983) and directly-elected governor José Agripinio Maia (1983-1986, the son of Tarcísio Maia). Aluízio Alves, who was governor from 1961 to 1966, was the patriarch of the Alves clan and originally supported the military regime, but he saw his mandate revoked by the regime’s AI-5 in 1969 and defected to the MDB/PMDB, where he continued to exert significant political influence in RN. He was defeated by José Agripinio Maia (PDS) in the 1982 election, but his clan was victorious in 1986 with the election of Geraldo Melo (PMDB) – whose running-mate was Garibaldi Alves, Aluízio’s brother. Although the Maia clan lost the governorship, José Agripinio Maia (PFL) and Lavoisier Maia (PDS) were both elected to the Senate. In 1990, the Maia clan split, resulting in the rival gubernatorial candidacies of José Agripinio Maia (PFL) and his cousin Lavoisier Maia (PDT). Lavoisier Maia allied with the Alves clan and the PMDB, with Garibaldi Alves Filho, the son of Garibaldi Alves, as the coalition’s senatorial candidate. José Agripinio Maia narrowly defeated Lavoisier Maia in a second round, but Garibaldi Alves Filho was elected to the Senate. In 1994, the Maia clan reconciled, uniting behind the gubernatorial candidacy of Lavoisier Maia (PDT), who this time went up against his ex-ally Garibaldi Alves Filho (PMDB). Garibaldi Alves Filho was elected, and reelected in 1998 against José Agripinio Maia (PFL).

In 2002, Wilma de Faria (PSB), Lavoisier Maia’s ex-wife (they divorced in the 1990s) and the mayor of Natal (1989-1993, 1997-2002) – who had alternated politically between alliances with the PFL and the PMDB – was elected governor, the first governor elected without the support of either the PFL or the PMDB (although the PFL backed in her in the second round against the PP-PMDB candidate). She won 61% in the runoff against the PP-PMDB. The emergence of a third force with the PSB/PT led a marriage of convenience between the Maia and Alves clans (the PFL and PMDB) in 2006, behind the gubernatorial candidacy of Garibaldi Alves Filho and the senatorial candidacy of Rosalba Ciarlini (PFL), the popular former mayor of Mossoró. Despite a mediocre record and the strength of the opposition alliance (but with Lula’s support), Wilma de Faria was reelected with 52% in the runoff. During her second term, Wilma de Faria was hit hard by a Federal Police operation in which her son and other public officials were arrested, suspected of embezzling millions in public funds. Although the Alves and Maia clans split in the 2008 municipal elections, they reunited in 2010, supporting the gubernatorial candidacy of senator Rosalba Ciarlini (DEM) and the senatorial candidacies of Garibaldi Alves Filho (PMDB) and José Agripinio Maia (DEM). Wilma resigned to run for Senate, but she left office unpopular and her successor, Iberê Ferreira (PSB) was badly defeated by the first round by Ciarlini, 52.5% to 36.3%. Wilma also placed a poor third in her senatorial run, defeated by the Alves and Maia clans.

Rosalba’s administration faced an avalanche of problems. Her management of public services, particularly healthcare, was severely criticized and she faced a giant strike of public servants in 2011 (‘Rio Greve do Norte’). Her record on public safety, infrastructure and fiscal management was hardly any brighter. In December 2013, the TRE voted to impeach her, because of abuse of political and economic power in the 2012 municipal elections to favour the DEM mayoral candidate in her hometown of Mossoró. She is accused of using the official government plane to travel, several times, to Mossoró to campaign for the candidate. In January, the TRE upheld its decision in a first appeal, but she appealed to the TSE, which granted her an injunction and allowed her to remain in office. In December 2013, Rosalba was the least popular governor in the whole country, with 74% saying her performance was bad/very bad and only 7% thinking it was good/very good.

Rosalba Ciarlini also saw her political support evaporate, beginning with her vice-governor Robinson Faria (PSD), who broke with the governor less than a year into her term at the end of 2011. In 2012, senator Paulo Davim’s Green Party (PV) left the government. In July 2013, the government suffered a major blow when the PMDB, led by Garibaldi Alves Filho (who became Minister of Social Security in Dilma’s administration since January 2011) and Henrique Eduardo Alves (the President of the Chamber of Deputies), left the government as well. In September 2013, she was dealt another blow when the leader of the DEM in RN, José Agripinio Maia said that it was unlikely that she would seek reelection unless she could rebuild an alliance with the PMDB. In June 2014, her last-ditch attempts at a reelection bid were crushed by her own party when it decided, in a convention, to support a coalition with the PMDB and not launch its own independent candidacy. José Agripinio Maia strongly supported the coalition with the PMDB, pushing the incumbent out.

The PMDB’s candidate was federal deputy Henrique Eduardo Alves, the son of Aluízio Alves and the cousin of Garibaldi Alves Filho. Henrique Eduardo Alves is one of the longest-serving parliamentarians in Brazilian history, having served eleven terms as a federal deputy, first elected for the MDB in 1970 and reelected every four years since then. He has become a senior figure in the Chamber, serving recently as PMDB house leader and, since February 2013, as President of the Chamber of Deputies. This year, for the first time ever, he did not run for reelection and instead ran for governor. His coalition included the DEM, PSDB, PSB, PR, SD, PROS, PDT, PPS, PTB, PRB, PV and some minor parties. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was Wilma de Faria (PSB), the former governor who became deputy mayor of Natal in 2012, elected on a ticket with Carlos Eduardo Alves (PDT), another cousin of Henrique Alves and Garibaldi Alves, but generally on opposite sides politically (in 2012, Henrique and Garibaldi supported a PMDB candidate against him). The PSDB and the DEM, among others, supported Aécio, while the PSB supported Campos/Marina. Henrique Alves endorsed Dilma (although, at times, it was lukewarm support), but received support from Aécio and Campos/Marina – and he also welcomed Aécio to the state, officially in the name of ‘hospitality’ and recognition of his support. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that most of Alves’ most active supporters supported Aécio rather than Dilma.

Vice-governor Robinson Faria (PSD) ran for governor, supported the PT, PCdoB, PP and some smaller parties. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was Fátima Bezerra (PT), a three-term federal deputy first elected in 2002 (and a state deputy before that). Robinson was the underdog for most of the race, with every poll showing Henrique Alves ahead of his opponent by comfortable margins. The largest poll before the first round, on October 1-3, showed Henrique Alves ahead by 7, 40 to 33.

However, in the first round, Henrique Alves, with 47.3%, led his opponent by a smaller margin – 5.3%, with Robinson at 42%. A PSOL candidate did very well, with 8.7%, thanks to heavy support in Natal, where the PSOL placed a strong third with 22.45%, against 41.5% for Alves and 31.6% for Robinson Faria. In the second round, Robinson Faria was elected with 54.4%. After the runoff, Henrique Alves criticized Lula for actively participating in Robinson Faria’s campaign, who appeared in a TV ad endorsing Robinson. Dilma, on the other hand, remained equidistant between the two. Lula’s intervention in the runoff seriously irked Henrique Alves, but denied that he would hold any grudges against the PT.

In the senatorial contest, Wilma was defeated by Fátima Bezerra, 43% to 54.8%. In the Chamber of Deputies, RN’s 8 federal deputies each represent a single party. The most popular candidate was state deputy Walter Alves (PMDB), the son of cabinet minister Garibaldi Alves Filho, who won his seat with 12.1%. Rafael Motta (PROS), in second with 11.2%, is the son of the president of the RN Legislative Assembly (himself reelected as state deputy with the most votes of any candidate). Fábio Faria (PSD), the son of governor-elect Robinson Faria, placed third with 10.5%. Felipe Maia (DEM), the son and political heir of senator José Agripino Maia, was reelected, placing fifth with 7.2%. In the Legislative Assembly, Robinson Faria will face an unfriendly crowd, as his coalition’s parties elected only 6 out of 24 state deputies, with his PSD coming in only as the third strongest party behind the PMDB and PROS.

Rio Grande do Norte remained firmly anchored in Dilma’s column, giving her nearly 70% of the vote, but RN had the second-heaviest pro-Dilma swing of any state after Sergipe, with the President improving on her 2010 runoff result in RN by 10.4%. In 2010, Dilma had won a far more modest 59.5% in RN. In many ways, the 2014 result is a return to the ‘norm’ (ie 2006), given that RN had a heavy anti-PT swing in 2010, with a 10% drop-off between Lula’s 2006 result (69.7%) and 2010. The 2010 result is likely due to coattails for Rosalba Ciarlini, who was easily elected governor in 2010 over an unpopular incumbent backed by the PT. In 2014, Aécio lacked a strong base in the state, with the top two gubernatorial candidates both endorsing the President’s reelection.



Renan Filho (PMDB) 52.16%
Benedito de Lira (PP) 33.91%
Júlio Cezar (PSDB)^ 7.92%
Mário Agra (PSOL) 4.73%
4 others 1.27%


Fernando Collor (PTB)* 55.69%
Heloísa Helena (PSOL) 31.86%
Omar Coelho (DEM) 11.09%
4 others 1.38%

The small Northeastern state of Alagoas has the lowest HDI of any state, the highest homicide rate, the worst education system and is among the poorest states in the country. Politically, Alagoas remains dominated by political bosses and more modern coronels, with dynastic politics remaining a very powerful force, like in most of the Nordeste. The outgoing governor, Teotônio Vilela Filho (PSDB), was first elected in 2006, after serving three terms in the Senate. He is the son and political heir of the late Teotônio Vilela, a senator from 1967 to 1982.

At the time, Teo Vilela was supported by former governor Ronaldo Lessa (PDT) and incumbent senator Renan Calheiros (PMDB), two of the most important politicians in Alagoas. Ronaldo Lessa served two terms as governor of Alagoas, elected in 1998 and reelected in 2002. He was, traditionally, the arch-nemesis of Fernando Collor de Mello, the former President of Brazil (1990-1992) impeached in 1992, who had previously served as governor in the 1980s. Lessa defeated Collor in the 2002 gubernatorial election, an election which marked Collor’s political return after his long sojourn in the political wilderness following his impeachment and ineligibility for elected office. In 2006, however, Collor defeated Lessa in a senatorial contest, allowing Collor to return to elected office – as a senator – 14 years after leaving the presidency in disgrace. In a typical twist of Brazilian politics, Collor returned to politics as a strong ally of Lula (and later Dilma); Lula had been his opponent in the 1989 presidential election. Senator Renan Calheiros, first elected to the Senate in 1994 and reelected twice since, is one of the most powerful and influential legislators in Brazil – albeit also one of the more controversial ones as well. Like most powerful Brazilian legislators, Renan is a wily politician and shrewd political operator, who has made friends with basically all Presidents – since 2003, he’s been a fairly loyal ally of the Lula and Dilma administrations, but before that he served as justice minister under FHC and was a Collor ally in 1990 before breaking with him over a highly contentious gubernatorial race in Alagoas in 1990. In 2007, Renan faced a major scandal, Renangate: a lobbyist to pay a monthly pension to his ex-mistress Mônica Veloso, with whom he had a child. The scandal quickly took on other proportions, with revelations of a corrupt land deal with a brewery (in which Renan sold land to the company at a price far above market value), illegal business dealings in an attempt to build a media empire in Alagoas (to rival that of the Collor family) and bribery. In September 2007, Renan – who was, at the time, President of the Senate – faced an impeachment vote from his peers, but narrowly survived two impeachment votes in the Senate thanks to support from the government and political arm-twisting. Renan, however, was forced to resign as President of the Senate.

In 2010, incumbent governor Teo Vilela faced an uphill battle for reelection, having lost the support of both Lessa and Renan. Lessa ran for governor, in a coalition including his PDT, the PT and Renan’s PMDB (among others), while Collor also ran for governor, also claiming Lula and Dilma’s support. Against tough opposition and suffering from the weakness of the PSDB brand and the party’s presidential candidate (José Serra) in AL and the Nordeste, Teo Vilela ran a smart campaign which played on his ability to ‘work across the aisle’ with political adversaries (Lula and Dilma), and ended up a solid first in the first round with 39.6%, some ten points ahead of Lessa (29.2%) and landed just ahead of Collor (28.8%). In a twist, Collor endorsed his (former) enemy Lessa (with his eyes already set on his Senate seat in 2014), but the alliance wasn’t enough and Teo Vilela won 52.7% in the runoff. Renan Calheiros was reelected to the Senate without any problems, despite Renangate three years earlier, although he surprisingly placed second, behind Benedito de Lira (PP), a federal deputy on Teo Vilela’s ticket.

Teo Vilela left office with mediocre approvals, with 42% rating him as bad/very bad in 2013, making him the 7th least popular governor. With high debt and personnel costs (public servants’ wages being adjusted to inflation), the governor needed to turn to international loans to finance his promises (such as a big hospital in Maceió) and infrastructure. As noted above, the state has terrible indicators on security, education, poverty and social development.

Teo Vilela was, therefore, term-limited this year and could not run for reelection. It was widely expected that, like many Brazilian governors in similar situations, he would step down to run for Senate, which would create a very close contest against Collor. However, Teo Vilela surprisingly announced in January that he would serve out the rest of his term and that he wouldn’t run for Senate. The PSDB and the incumbent governor struggled to find a strong candidate. The PSDB’s initial candidate, Eduardo Tavares, dropped out about a month after he was chosen, and was replaced by a little-known councillor from Palmeira dos Índios, Júlio Cezar. The PSDB’s ‘purebred’ candidacy did not have a senatorial candidate.

The opposition to the incumbent state government formed a united front, which included several former rivals and most of the state’s most prominent and powerful politicians. The coalition, Com o povo pra Alagoas mudar, was made up of the PMDB, PT, PDT, PTB, PCdoB, PSD, PSC, PROS, PV, PTdoB and PHS. The coalition’s gubernatorial candidate was Renan Filho (PMDB), the 35-year old son of Renan Calheiros, who just completed one term as federal deputy and was mayor of Murici, the Calheiros clan’s small rural fiefdom, for two terms (2005-2009). His father, Renan Calheiros, who returned as President of the Senate in February 2013, has continued to be a controversial figure, and was one of the politicians targeted by young protesters in 2013. Quite disingenuously and very ironically, Renan Filho sold himself as the candidate of ‘change’ and ‘new politics’. During the campaign, Renan Filho’s opponents made an issue out of his inexperience. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was incumbent senator Fernando Collor (PTB). The coalition included several past rivals: Lessa is Collor’s former enemy, and Renan and Collor have had adversarial relations in the past. The coalition strongly supported (and was strongly supported by) Dilma.

Incumbent senator Benedito de Lira (PP), also known as ‘Biu’, broke his 2010 alliance with the PSDB and ran for governor himself. His coalition included the PSB, PR, DEM (a former ally of Teo Vilela), PPS, SD and three smaller parties. Alexandre Toledo (PSB) was Biu’s running mate. A little-known lawyer, Omar Coelho (DEM), was the senatorial candidate. The coalition was initially supported by Eduardo Campos, the PSB presidential candidate, although Biu said that he did not want to appear as an opponent of either Dilma or Vilela. However, Marina Silva was very reluctant to support Biu, because his son, federal deputy Arthur Lira (PP) is accused of domestic violence against his ex-wife. In August, without Marina’s support, Biu’s isolated campaign desperately sought to gain Aécio and Vilela’s support.

The far-left PSOL and PSTU supported Mário Agra (PSOL) for governor. More importantly, the small alliance’s senatorial candidate was Heloísa Helena, one of the more prominent figures of the PSOL who was a senator for Alagoas from 1999 to 2006, first elected for the PT in 1998. Heloísa Helena, a vocal figure of the PT’s more radical ideological left, was a critic of the Lula administration’s early policies, and she was expelled alongside other PT dissidents in 2003 for opposing the government’s pension reform and neoliberal economic direction. As a senator, she was one of the more active critics of the Lula administration, notably around the time of the mensalão scandal. Heloísa Helena ran for President in 2006, winning 6.9%. She ran for Senate in Alagoas in 2010, and was originally one of the favourites for a seat, but her campaign was unable to survive strong attacks on all sides from her opponents (she faced the hostility of both the PT and PSDB) and a biased media. She placed a distant third with 16.6%. Since 2010, she has resigned the presidency of the PSOL and somewhat drifted away from the party, with rumours that she would join her friend Marina Silva’s movement. She is a city councillor in the state capital of Maceió since 2008, reelected in 2012. This year, Heloísa Helena’s senatorial campaign received informal support from parts of the PSDB (which lacked a senatorial candidate) and the PSB, as the strongest alternative to Collor. The unofficial support/alliance with those parties led the PSTU to break with her candidacy.

The favourites throughout the entire campaign, Renan Filho and Collor both easily won. Renan Filho won by the first round, winning 52.2% against 33.9% for Biu; Collor won 55.7% against 31.7% for Heloísa Helena, who did very well by coalescing most of the anti-Collor vote but still fell short against the much stronger front behind Collor (which had, of course, far more resources and advantages). Renan Filho’s victory fulfills an old family ambition: to occupy the governorship of Alagoas. In 1990, Renan Calheiros, then an ally of Collor (and a member of his party, the PRN), ran for governor but was defeated in a highly contentious and acrimonious civil war against another pro-Collor candidate, who was allegedly the real favourite of the Collor clan and Collor’s then-wife.

Alagoas’ 9 seats in the Chamber all went to different parties. Dynastic politics was the main winner, again: João Henrique Caldas (SD), the son of a retiring incumbent, was the most popular candidate with 9.8%, while Pedro Vilela (PSDB), the nephew of outgoing governor Teo Vilela and president of the PSDB-AL, was elected in third place with 8.6%. Arthur Lira (PP), the aforecited wife-beating son of senator Benedito de Lira, was reelected in fourth with 7.1%. Former governor Ronaldo Lessa (PDT), who faced judicial troubles recently, was elected in fifth with 6.4%. Cícero Almeida (PRTB), the former mayor of Maceió, was elected with 4.7%. In the Legislative Assembly, the new governor will have the support of 12 out of 27 members, with the PSDB as the largest opposition party (4) and the governor’s PMDB as the largest governing party (3) alongside the PRTB.

Alagoas also recorded a substantial swing towards Dilma, who won 62.1% in the runoff, up 8.5% from a mediocre result of 53.6% in 2010 and comparable to Lula’s 61.5% in 2006. The pro-PT swing thus ‘corrects’ the low result in 2010. In 2010, Teo Vilela may have had coattails which helped his presidential candidate, José Serra, while this year Aécio’s political base in Alagoas was messy and disorganized as opposed the solid and powerful united opposition front which backed Dilma.

Mato Grosso


Pedro Taques (PDT) 57.25%
Lúdio Cabral (PT)^ 32.45%
Janete Riva (PSD) 9.92%
1 other 0.38%


Wellington Fagundes (PR) 48.19%
Rogério Sales (PSDB) 40.36%
Rui Prado (PSD) 10.24%
Gilberto Lopes Filho (PSOL) 1.21%

Mato Grosso (lit. thick woods) is a large, sprawling and largely remote state in the centre-west of Brazil, but also a state at the heart of a major sociodemographic expansion in the last 30-40 years thanks to the booming agribusiness and soybean industry in the centre-west region of Brazil. From only 520,000 people in 1950, MT now has a population of over 3 million – although it remains one of the least densely populated states in Brazil. The state’s population boom is the result of the agribusiness/soybean industry – just a brief glance at the state on Google Maps will show the expansion of arable farmland in MT, at the expense of forest (Rondônia, Acre, Pará are similar cases). Deforestation is a major issue, as the Cerrado savanna (in MT, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás etc.) has suffered from extensive deforestation as new techniques enhancing soil fertility have rendered the land suitable to agriculture. Farming is highly mechanized and intensive, and many farmers moved to MT from other states in Brazil, notably the white and affluent southern states. Mato Grosso is a very conservative state, one of four states which has voted for the PT only once since 1989 (in 2002). There’s a strong, although imperfect, correlation between farmland and support for Aécio/the PSDB candidate. Agribusiness is influential in politics; one of Mato Grosso’s current senators, Blairo Maggi (PR), is known as the ‘soy king’ as he is the boss of the largest soybean producer in the world. With a $960 million estimated net worth, Forbes named him Brazil’s second richest politician in 2014. He is widely disliked by environmentalists for supporting deforestation.

Incumbent governor Silval Barbosa (PMDB) is term-limited, having served one full term and completed Blairo Maggi’s term (from March 2010, after he stepped down to run for Senate). At any rate, he leaves office with a shoddy record (a 23% good/very good rating in 2013, making him the 6th least popular governor). His government took out R$ 1.57 billion in loans to finance World Cup preparations in Cuiabá, leaving a ‘cursed legacy’ to his successor and facing criticism for prioritizing the capital at the expense of the interior. Expenses grow rapidly but revenues aren’t keeping up, leaving much to be desired in social services such as education, healthcare and utilities. The governor faces judicial troubles once he leaves office: he is under investigating by the Federal Police for money laundering and the police had his assets frozen in October. In May, he was arrested (and later released on bail) for illegal possession of a weapon.

The governing coalition came into the elections weakened and divided. Many potential candidates from the governing coalition ended up not running: senator and former two-term governor Blairo Maggi (PR), his brother and business rival Eraí Maggi (PMDB) and Maggi ally and former mayor Maurício Tonhá (PR). The governing coalition’s candidate ended up being Lúdio Cabral (PT), a former two-term municipal councillor in Cuiabá who was the PT-PMDB’s unsuccessful mayoral candidate in Cuiabá, losing in the runoff to Mauro Mendes (PSB). He was supported by the PT, PMDB, PR, PCdoB and PROS. The senatorial candidate was Wellington Fagundes (PR), the longest-serving federal deputy in MT, first elected in 1990 and reelected every four years since. He’s a party hopper, beginning in the pro-military PDS in 1980, moving to Brizola’s PDT in 1985, joining the PL in 1987, briefly joining the PSDB then and rejoining the PL in 2001. The coalition supported Dilma nationally (and she supported it), and at the state level counted on support of Blairo Maggi and governor Silval Barbosa, although Lúdio’s campaign tried its best to hide the unpopular incumbent.

The PSD, hitherto a member of the governing coalition, defected and backed José Riva, a state deputy whose claim to fame is having 107 lawsuits against him. He kicked off his campaign 40 days after being arrested by the Federal Police in its money laundering investigation, but his candidacy was unanimously blocked by the TRE under the Ficha Limpa law because he was sentenced four times of administrative misconduct (embezzlement of public funds in the Legislative Assembly). The TSE upheld the verdict on appeal. He was replaced by his wife Janete Riva (PSD).

The opposition parties united behind senator and former state attorney Pedro Taques (PDT), first elected to the Senate in 2010 on a PSB-led ticket. Although the PDT is officially a part of Dilma’s national coalition and supported her reelection candidacy, Pedro Taques has largely been aligned in the opposition while in the Senate. His candidacy was supported by the PDT, PSDB, PSB, DEM, PP, PTB, PPS, PSC, PV, PRB and 3 smaller parties – so it included parties which backed Campos/Marina (PSB) and Aécio (PSDB, DEM). Aécio backed Pedro Taques, but the candidate was hesitant to reciprocate the endorsement until after the first round, when he unambiguously endorsed Aécio. Like any good Brazilian politician, he wanted to play to both sides. Pedro Taques was very critical of the incumbent state government and ran on a platform of ‘change’. His senatorial candidate was former governor Rogério Sales (PSDB), who served for a few months in 2002 after governor Dante de Oliveira (PSDB, 1995-2002) stepped down to run (unsuccessfully) for Senate in 2002. Incumbent senator Jayme Campos (DEM), a former governor, sought to run for reelection but dropped out because of low support in the coalition.

Given the unpopularity of the outgoing governor and the weak pro-government ticket, Pedro Taques’ much stronger candidacy was victorious in a landslide, winning 57.3% to 32.5% for Lúdio (PT). In the senatorial contest, however, Wellington Fagundes (PR) – the other ticket’s candidate – was victorious in a much closer battle against Rogério Sales (PSDB), 48.2% to 40.4%. For some reason, Mato Grosso’s governors struggle to win Senate seats – since 1945, six governors have tried and failed to win Senate seats.

7 parties split 8 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, with the PSB winning two seats. The most popular candidate was Nilson Leitão (PSDB), a former mayor; three other former mayors were also elected. In the Legislative Assembly, Pedro Taques will hold 11 out of 24 seats, falling just short of a commanding majority. The PR (5), PSD (4) and PMDB (3) are the three largest opposition parties, with the PSB and PSDB (3) as the largest government parties.



Wellington Dias (PT) 63.08%
Moraes Souza Filho (PMDB)* 33.25%
Mão Santa (PSC) 1.55%
Maklandel Aquino (PSOL) 1.35%
3 others 0.77%


Elmano Ferrer (PTB)^ 62.29%
Wilson Martins (PSB) 35.72%
Gustavo Henrique (PSC) 1.22%
2 others 0.77%

Piauí is a poor state in the Nordeste. Historically governed by conservative figures from either the PFL or PMDB, but with common roots in the old pro-regime ARENA, the state elected a PT governor – Wellington Dias – and reelected him in 2006. Wellington Dias is a former trade union leader (in the banking sector) and a petista since 1985, and served one term as state deputy and one term as federal deputy before being elected in 2002, defeating incumbent governor Hugo Napoleão (PFL). He owed much of his 2002 victory to the support of former governor Mão Santa (PMDB), a populist elected in 1994 and reelected in 1998, but who was removed to office on charges of abuse of economic power during the tight 1998 campaign against his rival Hugo Napoleão. Mão Santa was elected to the Senate in 2002. In 2006, however, Mão Santa and part of the PMDB had broken from the governor, but Wellington Dias was reelected with 61.7% by the first round in 2006 against Mão Santa.

Leaving office with high approval ratings, Wellington Dias was easily elected to the Senate in 2010 (placing first) and his vice-governor, Wilson Martins (PSB), who had taken the governor job when Wellington Dias resigned early to run for Senate, was reelected to a full term without too much trouble, winning 58.9% in the second round against Silvio Mendes (PSDB), the mayor of Teresina (the state capital) from 2005 to 2010. Wilson Martins, originally a member of the PSDB, joined the PSB in 2004 and switched sides to become an ally of the government – he joined the PT incumbent’s ticket as his running-mate in 2006, when only three years before that, as a PSDB state deputy, he was trying to get the new PT governor impeached for administrative misconduct.

The state government claims success for overcoming a difficult fiscal situation when it took office, with a policy of cost containment and restraint, allowing the state to significantly increase its investments in infrastructure in 2013, by announcing one of the most ambitious public works project in Piauí’s history. The government, however, was criticized for insufficient investment in healthcare. Politically, relations between the former allies PT and PSB worsened after the PSB left the national governing coalition in 2013 and with Eduardo Campos’ presidential candidacy. In Piauí, the PT became an opponent of PSB governor Wilson Martins – leading to rather ironic situations of the PSB governor complaining that he had inherited a bankrupt state (when he had been vice-governor in the administration which he claims left a huge mess) and the PT attacking their former ally for ‘destroying social programs’ and the like. Term-limited governor Wilson Martins resigned in April 2014 to run for Senate, and he was succeeded by his vice-governor Moraes Sousa Filho (Zé Filho, PMDB).

The new incumbent governor ran for reelection, with a broad coalition including the PMDB, PSDB, PSB, PSD, DEM, PPS, PDT, PCdoB, PV, PRB and many small parties. The coalition brings together former rivals – the DEMs (PFL before that) were the main opponents to the PMDB in the 1990s and the PSDB was often an opponent of the PMDB in past elections. Indeed, Zé Filho’s running-mate was Silvio Mendes (PSDB), the losing centre-right opposition candidate in the 2010 election. The senatorial candidate was former governor Wilson Martins (PSB). The coalition had the support of both Eduardo Campos and Aécio Neves.

Former governor and incumbent Wellington Dias (PT) returned to the forefront of state politics, running for governor at the helm of a smaller coalition including the PT, PP, PTB, PR, PROS, SD and two smaller parties. His candidacy faced attacks from his opponents, who brought up old scandals from his time as governor, notably the 2009 breach of the Algodões dam which killed nine people (the then-governor faced manslaughter charges in the STF) and the seizure of a car with R$180,000 carrying the governor’s cousin and one of his staff. The PP in PI is led by senator Ciro Nogueira, the president of the national PP and strong supporter of the President. In 2010, the PTB and PP had supported a rival candidacy, that of senator João Vicente Claudino (PTB), who placed third with 21.5% in the first round. Senator João Vicente Claudino did not seek reelection. Instead, the former mayor of Teresina (2010-2012) Elmano Férrer (PTB) ran for Senate. Running for a full term as mayor, Elmano Férrer was defeated in the second round of the 2012 mayoral elections in Teresina by a PSDB candidate.

Former governor Mão Santa (PSC) ran for governor, his second attempt at a return to the governorship since he was impeached. Mão Santa was elected governor for the PMDB (the party he joined after failing to win the PP’s nomination) in 1994, defeating the PFL candidate backed by outgoing governor Hugo Napoleão in a close runoff contest. He was reelected in 1998, again in an extremely close race, this time against his PFL rival Hugo Napoleão. As governor, Mão Santa was a populist, who created several clientelistic/populistic social programs. In November 2001, the TSE removed Mão Santa and his vice-governor from office on charges of abuse of political and economic power in the 1998 election, acting on a complaint from Hugo Napoleão, who was sworn in as governor a few days later in virtue of the TSE’s decision. In 2002, Hugo Napoleão was defeated in his reelection bid by Wellington Dias (PT), supported by Mão Santa, who was elected to the Senate on the same day. However, Mão Santa later broke with the PT governor and ran against him as the PMDB candidate in the 2006 election, winning only 25.3% in the first round against over 61% for the incumbent. In 2010, Mão Santa was denied the PMDB’s nomination for a second term as senator, so he switched to the PSC to run for reelection, but fell short, placing third with 14.1%. Governor Zé Filho (PMDB), who ran for reelection, is the nephew of Mão Santa. The PSC candidate was supported by the PSC’s presidential candidate Pastor Everaldo and Mão Santa supported Aécio in the second round.

As was widely expected, senator Wellington Dias (PT) returned for a third term in the governor’s mansion, winning in a landslide by the first round with 63.1% against 33.3% for the incumbent governor. Mão Santa, whose profile has faded further since his 2010 defeat, won only 1.55% of the vote! His success also carried Elmano Férrer (PTB), who, unlike Wellington Dias, did not enter the race as the favourite against former governor Wilson Martins. Elmano Férrer only took the lead in the last minute, but he was carried to a big landslide – 62.3% to 35.7% – by the success of his coalition’s success across the board.

The most popular candidate for federal deputy was state deputy Rejane Dias (PT), the wife of governor-elect Wellington Dias, who was elected with 7.7%. Four-term incumbent Átila Lira (PSB) placed second (7.5%), followed by one-term incumbent Iracema Portela (PP) with 7%. Overall, the PSB won 3 seats against 2 apiece for the PT and PTB, with the three last seats going to the PP, PMDB and PSD. In the Legislative Assembly, Dias lacks a majority, his coalition having won only 10 out of 30 seats, with the PMDB as the largest party (6) and the PTB as the largest governing party (5). Despite Dias’ success, the PT only won 3 seats.

Federal District


Rodrigo Rollemberg (PSB) 45.23% > 55.56%
Jofran Frejat (PR) 27.97% > 44.44%
Agnelo Queiroz (PT)* 20.07%
Luiz Pitiman (PSDB) 4.46%
Toninho (PSOL) 2.26%


José Reguffe (PDT) 57.61%
Gim Argello (PTB)* 18.92%
Geraldo Magela (PT) 18.8%
Sandra Quezado (PSDB) 2.82%
Aldemario (PSOL) 1.44%
3 others 0.4%

The Federal District (DF), Brasília, has roughly the same political rights and structure of government as every other state in Brazil, although the DF gained the right to directly elect its own governor only with the passage of the 1988 Constitution and elected its first governor in the 1990 elections. Before that, the governors of the DF were appointed by the President of the Republic and confirmed by the Senate. Since 1990, the DF has had a tough time with corruption – most governors elected have turned out to be corrupt duds. In 1990, the DF’s first directly-elected governor was Joaquim Roriz (PTR), who had previously served as an appointed governor from 1988 to 1990. In his first time as governor, his supporters described him as a visionary who launched major public works projects including the Ponte JK over the artificial Paranoá Lake or the Brasília Metro (finally inaugurated in 2001 after massive delays and cost overruns) but his opponents claimed he encouraged pauperization of the DF through the mass distribution of land in semi-developed satellite cities. In 1994, Roriz failed to elect his preferred successor, who was defeated in a close race by Cristovam Buarque, at the time a member of the PT. Buarque was fairly popular governor, creating several good social programs, notably the Bolsa-escola (a conditional cash transfer to poor families of children 7-14 attending school, the basis for later federal programs such as the Bolsa Família), a state-administered savings scheme for students to reduce school dropout rates and absenteeism (students who graduated could receive the value of their savings account), healthcare assistance to low-income household and loans to small businesses and artisans. However, in 1998, Buarque was defeated in a very close runoff election against Joaquim Roriz (PMDB). Roriz was reelected in 2002, again in a very close runoff against federal deputy Geraldo Magela (PT). In 2006, Roriz was successfully elected to the Senate. However, several corruption cases emerged from his second term. In June 2007, only a few months after being sworn in as Senator, Roriz was accused of diverting some R$ 2.2 million from the public bank BRB. He chose to resign his Senate seat in July 2007, to escape impeachment.

In 2006, José Roberto Arruda (PFL) was elected governor by the first round, defeating Roriz ally and new governor Maria Abadia (PSDB) and a PT candidate. Arruda was a former senator, elected in 1994 with Roriz’s support but who later broke with him, serving in the Senate until a scandal forced him out prematurely in 2001, although he returned to Congress as a PFL federal deputy in 2002. In November 2009, a Federal Police raid uncovered one of the biggest corruption scandal in Brazilian state politics – the mensalão do DEM or mensalão no DF. The police, cooperating with a corrupt cabinet member gone ‘rogue’ and whistle-blower, searched the governor’s residence and the residences of several district deputies and cabinet secretaries, and seized thousands in currency (in reais, US dollars and euro) and documents. The prosecutors’ investigation revealed a network of bribes and illegal payments to parliamentarians, cabinet secretaries and the governor himself, using money coming from companies doing business with the DF government. In videos, Arruda was shown to be receiving biweekly payments of R$ 50,000. The scheme, therefore, served both as a way of buying votes and means of personal enrichment for the governor, vice-governor and executive branch officials. The scheme is said to have existed for some two decades, beginning under Roriz’s governments and embezzling some R$ 4 billion in public monies. Arruda’s first reactions were defiant, claiming innocence and presenting himself as a victim of a political witch-hunt (allegedly led by Roriz). However, in early December, Arruda disaffiliated himself from the DEM to avoid expulsion. In February 2010, Arruda was arrested – the first sitting governor to be arrested in Brazilian history – and placed in preventive detention. In March 2010, the Legislative Chamber of the DF opened impeachment proceedings, but Arruda’s mandate was revoked by the TRE a few days later and he was removed from office. Arruda was only released from prison in April 2010. Vice-governor Paulo Octávio (DEM), another key player in the scheme, assumed the governorship in February 2010 but was forced out after only 10-ish days. The President of the Legislative Chamber Wilson Lima (PR), also involved in the corruption network, was next in line as interim governor. In April 2010, Rogério Rosso (PMDB) was elected by the Legislative Chamber to complete the term. The situation in the DF was so grave – corruption had infiltrated all levels of government – that the Prosecutor General of the Republic formally requested federal intervention in the DF, but the STF rejected the request in June.

In 2010, Joaquim Roriz (PSC) tried to run for governor, but the TRE blocked his candidacy because of the Ficha Limpa law, a verdict upheld on appeal by both the TSE and STF. In September, therefore, Joaquim Roriz replaced his gubernatorial candidacy with that of his wife, Weslian Roriz (PSC). Roriz’s candidacy was supported by the PR, PSDB, DEM and PP among others. The PT candidate was Agnelo Queiroz, a former federal deputy and sports minister (2003-2006). He was backed by the PT, PMDB, PDT, PSB, PRB, PTB, PCdoB and some other parties. With a thirst for clean government, Agnelo was easily elected in the runoff against Weslian Roriz, winning 66.1% of the vote. With 48.4% in the first round, he had just barely missed a first round victory, partly because of strong support for anti-establishment candidacies from the PSOL (14.3%) and the Greens (5.6%).

As it turned out, however, Agnelo Queiroz has been involved in quite a few corruption scandal himself. As a Communist Minister of Sports in Lula’s first administration, Agnelo devised the illegal funding stream to finance the PCdoB (charging kickbacks to offer contracts or funneling them towards affiliated businesses and NGOs). A 2010 police operation in Brasília accused him of receiving public funds from the Ministry of Sports through two kung fu associations in the capital. As governor, Agnelo was one of the politicians named in the Carlinhos Cachoeira scandal – with allegations that two top officials in his government regularly met with members of Cachoeira’s mafia entourage, raising questions about Cachoeira’s degree of access to the governor himself. Agnelo was cleared of almost all charges, but Agnelo was forced to testify before the Cachoeira CPI.

Under his administration, the DF spent about R$ 1.7 billion to pay for the construction of the FIFA World Cup stadium in Brasília, the only stadium paid entirely by public funds and the second-most expensive stadium. The investment was somewhat controversial, given that Brasília currently lacks a team in the country’s primary football league, the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. The government also made significant investments to completely renew and rebuild the DF’s public transit system, which was fairly unpopular.

In December 2013, Agnelo was the second most unpopular governor in Brazil, with only 9% having a good/very good opinion and 62% with a bad/very bad opinion.

The incumbent governor ran for reelection, renewing his 2010 alliance with the PMDB and keeping his vice-governor, Tadeu Filippelli (PMDB) on the ticket. As the incumbent, Agnelo built the largest coalition of any candidate, being supported by 16 parties including the PP, PCdoB, PRB, PROS, PSC, PMDB and PT. The senatorial candidate was Geraldo Magela (PT), a former federal deputy.

The PT, however, lost the support of the PSB, which had been in its coalition in 2010. The PSB instead backed the candidacy of senator Rodrigo Rollemberg (PSB), elected to the Senate in 2010 on the same slate as Agnelo. His candidacy was also backed by the PDT, another former ally of the PT (in 2010), also supported Rollemberg’s candidacy, with federal deputy José Antônio Reguffe (PDT) dropping his gubernatorial candidacy and instead ran for Senate on Rollemberg’s slate. The PDT broke with the PT in 2011 and the PSB broke with the PT in 2012. Rollemberg’s coalition, besides the PSB and PDT, also included SD and the PSD. Rollemberg ran a centrist reformist campaign, promising to fight corruption.

Corrupt former governor José Roberto Arruda (now in the PR) launched his own gubernatorial bid after he joined the PR in 2013, backed by a coalition including the PTB, DEM, PMN and the PRTB (the party which is now home to Joaquim and Weslian Roriz). However, in July 2014, Arruda was convicted, on appeal, of administrative misconduct in the mensalão do DEM scandal. Although Arruda announced that he would appeal the court’s decision to the STJ, the verdict left his gubernatorial candidacy in legal limbo – convicted of a crime, he was barred from running under the Ficha Limpa law, but he had not been convicted of any crime at the time that he registered his candidacy. In August 2014, the TRE vetoed his candidacy, and that of federal deputy Jaqueline Roriz (PMN), Roriz’s daughter, convicted alongside Arruda in July (in 2011, a video showed her receiving a R$ 50,000 bribe in 2006). Arruda appealed the decision to the TSE, claiming that he was victim of a politically-influenced decision engineered by his rivals. The TSE, however, upheld the TRE’s decision, prompting the former governor to appeal to the STF. In September, the STJ rejected Arruda’s appeal of the July sentence, thereby maintaining the lower court’s verdict.

With Arruda’s candidacy blocked by all sides, he withdrew on September 13, and was replaced as the gubernatorial candidate by his running-mate, Jofran Frejat (PR). Jofran Frejat is a former federal deputy (1987-2003, 2007-2011), currently a member of the PR after having hopped through the PFL, PP and PTB. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was incumbent senator Gim Argello (PTB), who took office in 2007 following Joaquim Roriz’s resignation from the upper house. Gim Argello also has his own corruption cases, facing an inquiry in the STF for misappropriation, embezzlement, bribery and money laundering – the senator has enriched himself greatly since entering politics. Gim Argello’s first alternate (suplente) was Weslian Roriz (PRTB), the wife of Joaquim Roriz.

The PSDB, with the PSDC and PPS, ran a minor candidate, Luiz Pitiman (PSDB), a federal deputy.

Arruda was originally the runaway favourite, with the last poll before he dropped out placing him in a comfortable first place with 37% of voting intentions against less than 20% for Rollemberg and Agnelo. However, when he dropped out, Rollemberg became the favourite and took the lead in the polls, holding a comfortable 39-23 lead over Frejat (21% for Agnelo) in the last poll days before the election. In the first round, Rollemberg placed first with 45.2%, taking a clear lead over Frejat, who won only 28%. The unpopular incumbent governor placed third with 20.1% and was defeated by the first round. In the Senate race, the popular Reguffe won easily, with 57.6% against only 18.9% for the incumbent and 18.8% for the PT’s candidate.

Rollemberg came into the runoff as the favourite, holding a strong lead over Frejat and not too far from the 50% line as it stood. Agnelo or the PT didn’t endorse any candidate, although three small parties in his coalition switched their support to Frejat. They didn’t appreciate Rollemberg’s rejection of ‘old politics alliances’ – alliances in exchange for guaranteed seats in a future government. In the second round, both gubernatorial candidates supported Aécio – Rollemberg (and PDT senator Cristovam Buarque) had supported Campos/Marina in the first round, but endorsed Aécio in the runoff, while Frejat/Roriz/Arruda all supported Aécio as well. However, the PSDB in Brasília threw its support behind the PSB candidate. In the runoff, Rollemberg was elected with 55.56%.

8 parties split the DF’s 8 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Former federal deputy Alberto Fraga (DEM), defeated in 2010, was elected with 10.7%, the most of any candidate. Former governor Rogério Rosso (PSD) was also elected, placing second with 6.4%. In the Legislative Chamber, Rollemberg’s coalition won only 4 out of 24 seats (3 PDT, 1 SD) – the PT (4), PMDB (3) and PRTB (2) are the other major parties.

The DF was the only federal entity to vote for a different presidential candidate/party than in 2010 –  it also had the second largest swing of any federal unit in Brazil. Dilma had narrowly carried the DF with 52.8% in 2010; four years later, her vote share fell by 14.7% and Aécio won the DF with no less than 61.9%. The DF has the highest HDI of all federal units; it is a largely middle-class district, with an economy heavily driven by the federal government/public sector. While affluent, its public sector-driven economy has meant that the DF has usually leaned somewhat to the left. This year’s result is part of a broader trend which saw middle-class areas of all kind swing heavily towards Aécio, even those like the DF or Rio which have large public sector employment. Middle-class voters have shifted away from the PT since 2006, this year the swing was even more pronounced. Middle-class voters tend to be particularly sensitive to corruption and they largely dislike Dilma’s economic and fiscal policies. In the DF specifically, Dilma was also badly hurt by Agnelo’s unpopularity.

Mato Grosso do Sul


Reinaldo Azambuja (PSDB) 39.09% > 55.34%
Delcídio do Amaral (PT) 42.92% > 44.66%
Nelson Trad Filho (PMDB)^ 16.42%
3 others 1.56%


Simone Tebet (PMDB) 52.61%
Ricardo Ayache (PT) 23.09%
Alcides Bernal (PP) 16.78%
Antônio João (PSD) 7.15%
2 others 0.37%

Two-term incumbent governor André Puccinelli (PMDB) was term-limited. His term has been marred by several controversies and corruption allegations. The state’s rather high debt has forced the government to cut spending, reduced public sector benefits and cut investments. Puccinelli’s name has been mixed up in a number of corruption cases and other controversies. In 2012, Puccinelli was accused of illegally pressuring civil servants in Campo Grande (the state capital) to favour his PMDB’s candidate in the mayoral election, who was ultimately defeated by Alcides Bernel (PP). He may face criminal prosecutions once he leaves office. Nevertheless, Puccinelli leaves office rather popular.

The governing party’s candidate was Nelson Trad Filho, also known as Nelsinho Trad (PMDB), the former two-term mayor of Campo Grande (2005-2012). The PMDB’s coalition included the PSB, PSC, PRB and 3 smaller parties. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was Simone Tebet (PMDB), the vice-governor (until April 2014). Although Nelsinho Trad supported Campos/Marina’s candidacies in the first round and didn’t support Dilma in the runoff, his ally and outgoing governor André Puccinelli supported Dilma, officially in recognition of the work she’s done for MS. Simone Tebet, in typical PMDBspeak, has said that she would be an ‘independent’ legislator neither in opposition or in government.

The PT is the PMDB’s traditional rival in Mato Grosso do Sul, and the two parties have gone head-to-head in the last few gubernatorial elections. In 2010, André Puccinelli was reelected in a race against Zeca do PT (PT, obvs.), a former two-term governor (elected in 1998, reelected in 2002). There were some talks of attempts at a PT-PMDB reconciliation this year, but everything fell through. The PT’s gubernatorial candidate was senator Delcídio do Amaral, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2010. He had already ran, unsuccessfully, for governor in 2006, losing to Puccinelli. In March 2014, Delcídio faced controversy, as he was held responsible for the appointment of Petrobras’ international director – who had negotiated a controversial deal with a Pasadena refinery in which Petrobras lost money. Delcídio claimed that the PMDB had appointed the director. The coalition included the PR, PDT, PROS, PCdoB, PV, PTB and some other parties. Ricardo Ayache (PT) was the coalition’s senatorial candidate.

The PSDB has traditionally been allied with the PMDB in MS – the tucanos supported the PMDB’s coalitions in 2006 and 2010. However, the PSDB broke with the PMDB and ran its own candidate – federal deputy Reinaldo Azambuja, a landowner. He had a good showing in the 2012 mayoral election in Campo Grande, winning 25.9%, placing a close third but failing to qualify for the runoff. There were serious attempts made at either a formal or informal PT-PSDB alliance against the PMDB, with Delcídio running for governor while Azambuja could run for Senate, but the idea was killed by the PT and PSDB’s national leaderships. The coalition included the PSD, DEM, SD, PPS and PMN. Antônio João (PSD) was the senatorial candidate.

The PP ran a ‘purebred’ slate, with a no-name municipal councillor as its gubernatorial candidate, but former mayor of Campo Grande Alcides Bernal as the senatorial candidate. Elected mayor in 2012, Alcides Bernal had a very difficult time, facing strong opposition on the city council, the hostility of the governor and allies abandoning his government. Accused of inefficiency, he faced a CPI and was impeached by the city council in March 2014.

Delcídio was the favourite for the entirety of the first round campaign, although it was unlikely that he would win outright by the first round. Azambuja saw his poll numbers gradually increase, at the expense of the PMDB’s candidate, and Azambuja had the late momentum going into the first round. Delcídio placed first, as expected, with 42.9%, but Azambuja landed a very strong second place with 39.1% while Nelsinho Trad won only 16.4%. Delcídio therefore entered the runoff in a fairly precarious state, lacking obvious reserves because Nelsinho Trad publicly endorsed Azambuja, although the PMDB made no endorsements and governor Puccinelli didn’t indicate who he’d support. Senator-elect Simone Tebet (PMDB) also backed Reinaldo. The PSB, in the PMDB’s coalition in the first round, endorsed the PSDB candidate in the runoff. Most runoff polls placed Reinaldo Azambuja as the favourite, although Ibope’s very last poll on October 25 showed the two candidate in a statistical tie (Delcídio +1). Reinaldo Azambuja ended up winning by a decisive margin, winning 55.3%. He received the bulk of the PMDB’s first round voters and scored a big victory in Campo Grande, the largest city and state capital, with over 60% of the votes there.

In the senatorial contest, the relative strength of each coalition was rather different, as the PMDB’s Simone Tebet – the strongest and most well-known of all the candidates (the PT and PSD/PSDB candidates were fairly weak non-entities) – won very easily, winning 52.6%. Simone was the favourite for the entire campaign.

The PT and PMDB, with 2 federal deputies each, are the two strongest parties in MS’ congressional delegation in the lower house. Former governor Zeca do PT was the most popular candidate, by far, winning 12.6% of the vote. In the Legislative Assembly, Reinaldo comes in with only 5 out of 24 deputies on his side, but could perhaps count on some support from the PMDB (6), PSB (1) or PR (2).



Jackson Barreto (PMDB)* 53.52%
Eduardo Amorim (PSC) 41.37%
Sônia Meire (PSOL) 4.61%
2 others 0.5%


Maria do Carmo (DEM)* 48.91%
Rogério Carvalho (PT) 45.52%
Edivaldo Leandro (PSTU) 2.87%
Antônio Marques (PCB) 1.82%
1 other 0.88%

Sergipe, the smallest state in Brazil and the least populous state in the Nordeste, was historically dominated by conservative coronels and rival family clans. In the case of Sergipe, politics in the 1980s and 1990s following the fall of the military regime were a long-lasting feud between João Alves Filho (PFL), elected governor on three separate occasions (1982, 1990 and 2002) and the Franco family, with Albano Franco (PSDB), the son of the dynasty’s patriarch Augusto Franco (ARENA governor from 1979 to 1982), elected governor in 1994 and 1998 (defeating Alves Filho in 1998). In 2006, however, things changed with the defeat of incumbent PFL governor João Alves Filho at the hands of Marcelo Déda (PT), the former mayor of Aracaju (the state capital). The PT had built a strong base in the state, with Marcelo Déda active in Sergipe politics since the 1980s and with José Eduardo Dutra, a PT senator from 1995 to 2003. He was reelected in 2010, with a near-identical result (52.1% vs. 45.2%) in a rematch against João Alves Filho. In 2010 as in 2006, the PT was allied with the PMDB, a rival of the PFL/DEM in state politics since the mid-1990s. In 2010, Marcelo Déda’s running-mate was political veteran and federal deputy Jackson Barreto (PMDB).

After a successful first term, Marcelo Déda faced the fabled ‘curse of the second term’. The government faced some financial problems, and was forced to seek a R$ 567 million federal loan to pay for investment in infrastructure, while it also cut spending. Marcelo Déda faced personal health problems – he was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, unofficially relieved himself of his duties as governor in May 2013 and died in December 2013. He was replaced by his vice-governor Jackson Barreto (PMDB). Jackson Barreto has been a fixture of Sergipe politics since the 1980s, serving as state deputy, mayor of Aracaju (1986-1988, 1993-1994), federal deputy (most recently 2003-2011) and vice-governor. In 1986, he was elected mayor of Aracaju against the PT’s Marcelo Déda and had, at the time, the support of then-governor João Alves Filho (PFL). In 1994, he ran for governor for the PDT in coalition with the PT but was defeated by Albino Franco of the PSDB. In 1998, he unsuccessfully ran for Senate against Maria do Carmo (PFL), ironically now benefiting from Albino Franco’s backing.

Jackson Barreto ran for reelection this year, seeking a full term on his own name. He was supported by the PT, PSB, PSD, PCdoB, PRB, PDT, PROS and 3 smaller parties. The PSB originally sought to run its own candidate, senator Antônio Carlos Valadares, a former governor (1987-1990) for the PFL and senator since 1994 (reelected in 2002 and 2010), but ended up placing itself behind the PMDB/PT, as in 2010. However, the PSB and the PMDB/PT’s opposite directions in national politics caused some awkward moments for the coalition, notably in the presidential runoff where Jackson Barreto was very critical of Valadares’ support for Aécio. Rogério Carvalho (PT) was the candidate for Senate. Edvaldo Nogueira (PCdoB), mayor of Aracaju from 2006 to 2013, was originally expected to run for Senate but didn’t.

Senator Eduardo Amorim (PSC), elected to the Senate on Marcelo Déda’s slate in 2010, broke with Déda in February 2012, going from ally in 2010 to top opponent of the state government. He ran for governor, with the support of the traditional rivals to the PT and PMDB in SE: the PSDB (his running-mate was Augusto Franco Neto, the grandson of former governor Augusto Franco) and DEM (João Alves Filho was elected mayor of Aracaju in 2012, and declined to run for governor again), as well as the PTB, PPS, PR, SD, PP, PV and many small parties. The senatorial candidate was incumbent two-term senator Maria do Carmo (DEM), former governor João Alves Filho’s wife, elected to the Senate in 1998 and reelected in 2006. She has been criticized for being a fairly inactive and anonymous legislator, while she plays on her social work alongside her husband. Eduardo Amorim and his coalition supported Aécio.

Governor Jackson Barreto was reelected in the first round, winning with a comfortable majority over Amorim, 53.5% to 41.4%. He had been expected to win, and it was also widely expected that the election wouldn’t be a blowout for either side. Senator Maria do Carmo (DEM) was reelected, although in a much closer race than was originally expected: she won 48.9%, not very far ahead of Rogério (PT) who won 45.5%, much more than polls had given him.

8 different parties won Sergipe’s 8 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Adelson Barreto (PTB), a state deputy, was the top candidate with 13.4% of the votes. Former mayor Edvaldo Nogueira (PCdoB) placed 12th and was not elected. In the Legislative Assembly, Jackson Barreto’s government will have the support – for now – of 13 of the 24 state deputies, with the PMDB as the largest party (4).



Confúcio Moura (PMDB)* 35.86% > 53.43%
Expedito Júnior (PSDB) 35.42% > 46.57%
Jaqueline Cassol (PR) 15.11%
Padre Ton (PT) 12.64%
1 other 0.97%


Acir Gurgacz (PDT)* 41.98%
Moreira Mendes (PSD) 25.94%
Ivone Cassol (PP) 21.62%
Aluízio Vidal (PSOL) 10.46%

Rondônia is a state in northern Brazil which, like many of its neighbors, has witnessed extensive deforestation in the past decades to make way for agriculture and livestock herding – Rondônia is one of Brazil’s main beef exporters and also produces a lot of soybeans. The strong agribusiness industry, however, has made Rondônia one of the richest states in the largely poor North/Nordeste regions of Brazil. A good numbers of its politicians – most of them quite conservative in outlook – have personal ties to agribusiness. In 2010, Confúcio Moura (PMDB) was elected governor, defeating incumbent governor João Cahulla (PPS), who had taken office a few months before when governor Ivo Cassol (PP) stepped down to run for Senate. Ivo Cassol was first elected governor in 2002 (at the time for the PSDB) and reelected in 2006 (now for the PPS). He is the son of a rancher who moved to RO from southern Brazil (a trajectory shared by many of northern Brazil’s inhabitants) and Ivo Cassol himself is a powerful and wealthy businessmen who owns several farms, who may be one of the richest politicians in the North. Ivo Cassol was easily elected to the Senate, alongside another former governor, Valdir Raupp (PMDB, governor 1995-1999).

In December 2013, the governor had average approval ratings: 35% said he was doing a good/very good job, and the exact same percentage thought he was doing a bad/very bad job. The government faced criticism for rising personnel costs, which forced them to cut some pork in the public sector. In the later half of its term, the government also increased spending on infrastructure investments.

Governor Confúcio Moura (PMDB) ran for reelection with the backing of a coalition composed of the PMDB, PSB, PDT, PTB, PCdoB and four smaller parties. The coalition’s senatorial candidate was incumbent senator Acir Gurgacz (PDT), who joined the Senate in November 2009 after the STF – following a lengthy judicial process which began with the TRE in 2007 – revoked the mandate of the winner of the 2006 ballot, Expedito Júnior (PPS), for vote buying.

The incumbent’s main opponent was Expedito Júnior (PSDB), a former three-term federal deputy (1987, 1995-2003) and senator (2007-2009). In 2009, as noted above, the STF removed him from office on charges of vote buying, after a lengthy judicial process which had begun in 2007 with a ruling against him by the TRE. In 2010, the application of the Ficha Limpa law barred him from running for governor, and while his coalition did not put up an alternative gubernatorial candidate, he unofficially supported Confúcio Moura. His coalition included the PSDC, PSD, SD, DEM, PRB and several other parties. Moreira Mendes (PSD), a ruralista federal deputy and former senator (1999-2003), was the coalition’s senatorial candidate.

Jaqueline Cassol (PR), the sister of senator Ivo Cassol (PP), ran for governor backed by a small coalition including the PR, PP, PPS, PV, PTC and PROS. The coalition was originally due to include the PT, but the PT backed out at the last minute and instead ran its own (weak) ‘purebred’ slate with federal deputy Padre Ton (PT). The senatorial candidate was Ivone Cassol (PP), the gubernatorial candidate’s sister-in-law and Ivo Cassol’s wife: keep it in the family! The Cassol clan in Rondônia politics has been weakened by senator Ivo Cassol’s 2013 conviction by the STF for rigging bids while he was mayor of Rolim de Moura from 1998 to 2002. The STF, at the time, sentenced the senator to 4 years and 8 months in jail, and the STF is set to make a final ruling on his fate and sentencing when it returns from recess in January 2015.

In the first round, governor Confúcio Moura placed first with 35.9%, against 35.4% for Expedito Júnior, sending them both to a runoff. The Cassol clan’s candidate won 15.1% and the PT won only 12.6%, although both became the kingmakers in a runoff expected to be close. The PR, senator Ivo Cassol and senatorial candidate Ivone Cassol all officially endorsed the PSDB candidate, although the PR’s gubernatorial candidate Jaqueline Cassol remained neutral in the dispute. The PT and its candidate gave their support to the incumbent governor, in return for more vocal support for the President’s reelection from the incumbent. In the senatorial race, incumbent senator Acir Gurgacz (PDT) was easily reelected. In the gubernatorial runoff, Confúcio Moura was reelected with 53.4%.

Incumbent federal deputy Marinha Raupp (PMDB), the wife of senator Valdir Raupp (PMDB), was the most popular candidate for federal deputy in RO, winning 7.7%. The PMDB won 3 out of 8 seats, with the remaining 5 seats split between 5 parties. In the Legislative Assembly, the governor has the support of 9 out of 24 state deputies (plus 2 from the PT).



Marcelo Miranda (PMDB) 51.30%
Sandoval Cardoso (SD)* 44.72%
Ataídes Oliveira (PROS) 3.54%
2 others 0.45%


Kátia Abreu (PMDB)* 41.64%
Eduardo Gomes (SD) 40.77%
Sargento Aragão (PROS) 15.93%
2 others 1.66%

The largely poor northern state of Tocantins was created in 1988, after over 200 years of struggle for the region’s separation from Goiás. Siqueira Campos, a conservative supporter of the military regime who had served as federal deputy for Goiás from 1970 to 1988, was one of the most active proponents of Tocantins statehood and was elected as the state’s first governor in 1988. In 1990, Siqueira Campos’ candidate was defeated by a candidate from the rival PMDB, but Siqueira Campos (PPR) easily returned as governor in 1994 and was reelected to a second consecutive term in 1998, in both cases against the PMDB. In 2002, Marcelo Miranda (PFL), at the time the candidate supported by outgoing governor Siqueira Campos (PFL), was easily elected governor by the first round against a PMDB candidate.

Marcelo Miranda, who had previously served as a federal deputy since 1990, later broke with his political mentor Siqueira Campos and went head-to-head against him in the 2006 election. Marcelo Miranda, now in the PMDB, was reelected in a close race against Siqueira Campos (PSDB), 51.5% to 46.8% in the first round. However, Siqueira Campos never accepted his rival’s victory, alleging that he had abused his political and economic power. In September 2009, the TSE impeached Marcelo Miranda for abuse of political and economic powers in the 2006 election, and he was succeeded by Carlos Gaguim (PMDB), indirectly elected by the Legislative Assembly. In 2010, Siqueira Campos (PSDB) was elected to another term, defeating governor Carlos Gaguim, supported by Marcelo Miranda, in an extremely narrow contest (50.5% to 49.5%). Marcelo Miranda (PMDB) was elected to the Senate with the second most votes, but was barred from taking office because of his impeachment by the TSE in 2009, so his mandate went to the third-placed candidates (a PR candidate from Siqueira Campos’ slate).

Governor Siqueira Campos has struggled to fulfill most of his campaign promises from 2010, blaming a cursed inheritance left behind by the PMDB while others have cited the state’s high personnel costs as brakes to investment (investments have fallen significantly since 2011). In December 2013, he had low approvals with 40% saying his administration was bad/very bad and only 25% saying it was good/very good. In April 2014, SiqueiraCampos and his vice-governors announced their resignations. He was replaced by Sandoval Cardoso (SD), indirectly elected by the Legislative Assembly.

Siqueira Campos’ resignation was originally engineered to allow Siqueira Campos to run for Senate and allow his son, Eduardo Siqueira Campos (PTB), a former federal deputy and senator (1999-2007), to run for governor. Siqueira Campos announced his Senate candidacy in June, but seeing low poll numbers, he dropped out only a week or so later. Eduardo Siqueira Campos also temporarily gave up his gubernatorial ambitions, fearing potential defeat. Instead, he made a deal with incumbent governor Sandoval Cardoso (SD) to support him in 2014, in exchange for Sandoval Cardoso’s resignation from office in 2018 to allow Eduardo Siqueira Campos, who would run for state deputy this year, to take office. Sandoval Cardoso therefore ran for reelection, backed by an alliance including his party (Solidariedade or SD), the PSDB, PDT, PRB, PP, PTB, PR, PPS, DEM, PSB and most of the minor venal parties. Sandoval’s opponents attacked him for his close ties to Siqueira Campos’ political machine, and Sandoval did his best to downplay his ties with his fairly unpopular predecessor – preferring to keep it to bullshit about how they wanted ‘new politics’. Eduardo Gomes (SD) was the senatorial candidate.

The opposition coalition was led by former governor Marcelo Miranda (PMDB), the top rival of siqueirismo for the past 8-10 years. His small coalition included the PMDB, PT, PV and PSD. Marcelo Miranda’s candidacy was given the green light by the TSE in September, but the candidate faced more corruption troubles – in September, the federal judiciary froze his assets as part of a corruption investigation, and a few days later his name was cited in a money laundering investigation which saw a plane with R$ 500,000 and pamphlets for a federal deputy candidate belonging to Marcelo Miranda’s coalition seized by police. The senatorial candidate was incumbent senator Kátia Abreu, elected in 2006 against then-incumbent senator Eduardo Siqueira Campos. Kátia Abreu is a powerful and well-known senator, one of the most prominent figures of the ruralista caucus (agribusiness lobby) in the Senate. She became a rancher in Tocantins after her husband’s death in 1987, and became a representative of rural landowners and ranchers’ rights in the 1990s before entering politics as a federal deputy in 1998. In 2008, she was elected president of the Confederação da Agricultura e Pecuária do Brasil (Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil, CNA). She is widely despised by environmentalists and indigenous peoples’ activists, who call her the ‘chainsaw queen’ or ‘Miss deforestation’ because of her strong support for deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. She is also against indigenous peoples’ land claims, favours Monsanto genetically modified seeds and wants to weaken slave labour laws. She prides herself on the amount of hatred she faces from environmentalists, and says that she wants to run for President. For now, however, Kátia Abreu is a supporter of the government. On the state level, she’s an on-and-off ally/enemy of siqueirismo – elected with Marcelo Miranda in 2006, but backing Siqueira Campos in 2010 before breaking with him before 2014. She was a member of the Democrats until 2011, when she joined the PSD, and then moved to the PMDB in 2013.

Senator Ataídes Oliveira (PROS, but he’s switched back to the PSDB since), a former ally of Siqueira Campos (until 2013) and senator since João Ribeiro (PR) died in December 2013, ran for governor with the support of the PROS and 6 smaller parties.

The favourite throughout the campaign, Marcelo Miranda was elected governor, although in a much closer election than expected – Ibope’s last poll had him up 51-32 over the incumbent (+19) but he only defeated incumbent SD governor Sandoval Cardoso by 6.6% in the end. Kátia Abreu was also reelected, although again by a much closer margin than expected. Ibope’s last poll had her up 19, 44-25, but she won by only 0.87%! I’m not sure what explains the late shift in favour of the Sandoval and his senatorial candidate, besides Brazilian polling being a very inexact science.

The PMDB elected 3 federal deputies and 5 others parties (DEM, PP, PRB, PSB, PSD) took the remaining 5 seats. Governor-elect Marcelo Miranda’s wife (and future-first lady) Dulce Miranda (PMDB) was the most popular candidate, being elected with 10.4%. Irajá Abreu (PSD), the son of senator Kátia Abreu, was elected in second place with 8.6%. In the Legislative Assembly, the governor-elect’s coalition won 8 out of 24 seats, falling short of a majority, although defections are possible. SD is the largest party with 4 seats, while the PT and PMDB (3 seats each) are the largest governing parties. Eduardo Siqueira Campos (PTB) was elected to the state legislature with the most votes of any candidate.



Tião Viana (PT)* 49.73% > 51.29%
Márcio Bittar (PSDB) 30.10% > 48.71%
Tião Bocalom (DEM) 19.61%
1 other 0.56%


Gladson Cameli (PP) 58.36%
Perpétua Almeida (PCdoB) 36.47%
Roberto Duarte (PMN) 4.57%
1 other 0.6%

The interesting Amazonian state of Acre, in the farthest reaches of Brazil, has been governed by the PT since 1998 and the state has one of the oldest petista tradition of any state in the country. The PT’s strength in Acre is originally due to the activism of rubber tappers in the state, beginning with the legendary Chico Mendes in the 1980s, but since the 1990s much of the PT’s strength in Acre is due to the Viana brothers. Ironically, the father of the Viana brothers, Wildy Viana was a conservative and pro-military politician who served as state and federal deputy for the pro-dictatorship ARENA/PDS in the 1970s and 1980s. Jorge Viana, whose academic work on forest and rubber issues drew him close to Chico Mendes and rural workers’ and rubber tappers’ unions, ran for governor in 1990 and went up to the second round. He lost, but his success – the first major success for the PT in any gubernatorial election – was considered to be a victory of sorts, allowing him to be elected mayor of the state capital, Rio Branco, in 1992. In 1994, Marina Silva, a PT candidate at the time, was elected to the Senate. In 1998, Jorge Viana was elected governor and his younger brother Tião Viana (PT) was elected to the Senate on the same day. A popular and successful governor, Jorge Viana was reelected in 2002 with 63.6% by the first round and passed his seat to an ally, Binho Marques (PT), without any troubles. In 2010, Tião Viana (PT) was elected governor, although in an extremely close race against the PSDB – he won 50.5% to 49.2%. Jorge Viana was elected to the Senate in 2010. In 2012, the PT retained control of Rio Branco, which it has held since 2000.

The state’s population has grown extremely rapidly since the 1980s – from only some 301,300 people in 1980, the state has 790,101 people in 2014. A number of the people who have moved to Acre are capitalist farmers from the southern and southeastern regions of the country, and the previously densely forested region outside the capital Rio Branco has been cleared to make way for agriculture or logging. These economic and demographic changes have had political repercussions, because the state has shifted to the right in recent presidential elections – in 2002, Lula won 59.9% in AC, a result which fell to 52.4% four years later in the 2006 election. In 2010, Dilma was blown out of the water by José Serra in the state, winning only 30.3% in the state. This year, though, there was a fairly sharp counter-cyclical swing back to the PT, allowing Dilma to improve her result in the runoff to 36.3%. Nonetheless, Acre has always been a fairly conservative state in presidential elections since 1989.

In December 2013, governor Tião Viana had the third-highest approval ratings in Brazil, with 55% saying his government was good/very good and only 7% saying that it was bad/very bad. Nevertheless, he faced criticism from the PSDB opposition for the increase in the state’s debt level from 50% to 69% of revenues (although the debt remains at a healthy level). The governor claimed success by pointing to the 2012 inauguration of a free zone to boost industrialization and progress made in social policy.

Tião Viana ran for reelection, once again at the helm of the Frente Popular do Acre coalition which has ruled the state since 1998, although some 2010 allies (PP, PV) have jumped ship. The coalition included the PT, the loyal ally PCdoB, the PDT, PSB, PTB, PROS and most of the small venal parties. To keep the PCdoB happy, however, the coalition needed to force senator Aníbal Diniz (PT) to retire and promoted the candidacy of three-term federal deputy Perpétua Almeida (PCdoB) instead. Marina Silva’s husband, a state bureaucrat, endorsed Tião Viana’s reelection, but his wife remained neutral in the runoff against the PSDB.

The opposition to the PT failed to put up a united front in the first round, divided between two gubernatorial candidacies. Márcio Bittar, a PSDB federal deputy, was the candidate of a coalition including the PSDB, PMDB (a traditional rival of the PT in AC), PP (which, in AC, backed Aécio), PSD, PR, PPS, SD and 3 smaller parties. Márcio Bittar has previously served as state deputy (1995-1999) and federal deputy (1999-2003) and has run in several elections for higher office, all unsuccessfully – he ran for Senate in 2002, mayor of Rio Branco in 2004 and ran for governor in 2006 for the PPS (placing a distant second). In 2010, however, Márcio Bittar (now PSDB) was elected federal deputy with a very strong vote (15.3%), the most votes in AC and proportionally the second strongest showing for any candidate for federal deputy in Brazil in 2010. As federal deputy, he has been a vocal right-wing critic of the PT governments in Brasília and Rio Branco. His senatorial candidate was Gladson Cameli, a federal deputy and boss of the PP in AC. Cameli is the nephew of former governor Orleir Cameli. Another opposition coalition (DEM/PV/PMN) supported the gubernatorial candidacy of Tião Bocalom (ex-PSDB, now DEM). Bocalom was mayor of the conservative pioneer front town of Acrelândia on three occasions (1993-1996, 2001-2009) and, in 2010, he was the PSDB’s gubernatorial candidate against the PT and came very close to an upset victory – losing with 49.18% to Tião Viana’s 50.51%. In 2012, however, Bocalom suffered a major setback in the Rio Branco mayoral race – the prohibitive favourite for the duration of the campaign, he was finally upset by the PT in a close battle. His running-mate was former evangelical federal deputy Henrique Afonso (PV), who left the PT in 2009 after being suspended from the PT for his anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage views.

Polls indicated that Tião Viana was the favourite to place first in the first round, but that he wouldn’t be able to win reelection by the first round. He did indeed place first, and came very close to sealing the deal right there and then, taking 49.7% of the vote. After polls had indicated a close contest between Márcio Bittar and Bocalom for second, the PSDB candidate finally placed second with a comfortable edge over his DEM rival – 30.1% to 19.6%. In the senatorial race, Gladson Cameli, the favourite for most of the campaign, was easily, with 58.4% to Perpétua’s 36.5%.

For the second round, Bocalom endorsed Márcio Bittar (although the PV backed the incumbent, even if the PV’s Henrique Afonso remained with Márcio Bittar). Taking the vast majority of Bocalom’s first round votes, Márcio Bittar won 48.7% in the second round, losing to governor Tião Viana. Crucial to Tião Viana’s victory was his narrow victory in Rio Branco, with 50.6% of the vote against the PSDB candidate; at the same time in the presidential race, Aécio won 69.3% in the runoff in Rio Branco. Tião Viana also won in Cruzeiro do Sul, the state’s second largest city, with 51.1%; again while Aécio won over 60% of the vote there.

The PT elected 3 of AC’s 8 federal deputies, and the PMDB won another 2. Raimundo Angelim (PT), a former mayor of Rio Branco (2005-2013), was the most popular candidate with 10% of the vote. In the Legislative Assembly, the PT is the largest party with 5 state deputies, and the governor has a narrow 15/24 majority.



Waldez Góes (PDT) 42.18%
Camilo Capiberibe (PSB)* 27.53%
Lucas Barreto (PSD) 13.86%
Bruno Mineiro (PTdoB) 7.87%
Jorge Amanajás (PPS) 7.06%
Genival Cruz (PSTU) 1.39%
1 other 0.12%

Davi Alcolumbre (DEM) 36.26%
Gilvam Borges (PMDB)^ 34.26%
Promotor Moisés Rivaldo (PEN) 13.25%
Dora Nascimento (PT) 10.71%
Pastor Jorvan (PRP) 2.05%
Coronel Palmira (PTC) 1.38%
3 others 2.09%

Amapá, a remote and sparsely populated state in the north of the country (which became a state in 1988), is a playground for corrupt politicians and violent feuds between rival political clans. The state is also known as Senator and former President José Sarney’s backyard, where he was elected to the Senate in 1990 after fleeing his home state of Maranhão.

It is a bit simplistic and overly reductionist, but the main political divide in Amapá since statehood has usually been between pro-Sarney and anti-Sarney. The opposition to the Sarney power in the state has been spearheaded by the Capiberibe family, affiliated with the PSB. João Capiberibe was elected governor in 1994 and reelected in 1998. During the military dictatorship, João Capiberibe and his wife Janete were active in the guerrilla movement in the remote parts of northern Brazil before living several years in exile in South America, Canada and Mozambique prior to the 1979 Brazilian amnesty. In 1988, he was elected mayor of Macapá, the state capital, and won the governorship in 1994 against a pro-Sarney candidate, Jonas Pinheiro (PTB). In 1998, he was reelected in a fairly close runoff against Waldez Góes (PDT), a fairly pro-Sarney guy. João Capiberibe was fairly successful as governor, reforming the workings of the state government and the management of funds to promote transparency. In 2002, Capiberibe was elected to the Senate, although the PSB lost the gubernatorial race and Waldez Góes was elected in the runoff against the PT. Janete Capiberibe was also elected federal deputy, and she was reelected in 2006 and 2010. Seen as a threat by Sarney, Capiberibe was impeached by the TSE in 2005 for allegations of vote buying (for R$ 26) which were brought to the electoral authorities by Sarney himself. The TRE originally absolved him, but the TSE found him guilty and removed him from office in a highly controversial decision which made national headlines at the time. Several national politicians came to Capiberibe’s defense, claimed political interference by Sarney (which is quite likely) and highlighted Capiberibe and his wife’s reputation for honesty and integrity. As it happens, Capiberibe’s impeachment allowed Gilvam Borges (PMDB), a corrupt Sarney ally and Sarney’s loyal foot soldier, to regain the seat he lost in the 2002 election. In 2006, Capiberibe was defeated by Waldez Góes, Sarney’s candidate, in the gubernatorial elections.

In 2010, Amapá politics again made national headlines and the campaign was shaken up in the month before the election by a Federal Police anti-corruption operation. In September 2010, the Operação Mãos Limpas sought to dismantle a criminal organization of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen who embezzled public funds in Amapá. Besides the seizure of R$ 1 million in cash, luxury cars and a Cessna jet, the STJ also ordered the preventive arrest of 18 people – including then-governor Pedro Paulo Dias (PP, running for reelection), former governor Waldez Góes (PDT, who had stepped down to run for Senate) and his wife, the president of the State Court of Auditors, businessmen and bureaucrats. In December 2010, Roberto Góes (PDT), the then-mayor of Macapá and Waldez Góes’ brother, was also placed in preventive detention. The big corruption sting had an effect on the race, as incumbent governor Pedro Paulo finished fourth in the first round with 13.5% and the runoff was between Camilo Capiberibe (PSB), a state deputy and João/Janete’s son and Lucas Barreto (PTB), a Sarney ally with his own corruption scandal; Jorge Amanajás (PSDB), a Sarney ally as well, placed third. Camilo won with 53.8% in the runoff. In the senatorial election, the most popular candidate was Randolfe Rodrigues (PSOL), elected partly in reaction to Operação Mãos Limpas. João Capiberibe (PSB) placed second, narrowly ahead of his rival, incumbent pro-Sarney senator Gilvam Borges (PMDB). Waldez Góes placed fourth. However, because João Capiberibe was judged to be disqualified by the Ficha Limpa law, he was originally barred from taking his seat, which was given to Gilvam. In November 2011, the STF’s decision that the law was not retroactive and didn’t apply to the 2010 elections allowed João Capiberibe to take his seat.

Camilo Capiberibe’s administration faced several difficulties and the governor became very unpopular. In 2011, several state cabinet secretaries were forced to resign following a corruption investigation. The governor has had a very adversarial relationship with the state’s teachers, who went on strike three times during his term, including for a three month-long strike in 2012. They demanded a 20% wage increase, while the government was only willing to concede 16%. Businessmen also disliked his government, claiming that 2000 businesses had closed their doors since 2011. Financially, the state increased its revenues, but at the same time the state’s debt grew from 23% to 42% of revenues and Amapá’s retained its dependence on federal transfers. The PSB governor has explained his unpopularity by saying that he took unpopular, but necessary, measures to clean up the state – like cleaning up the big patronage machine left behind by his corrupt predecessor. Regardless, in December 2013, Camilo was the fourth most unpopular governor, with 55% saying his management was bad/very bad and only 18% saying it was good/very good. The governor has also claimed that he has been the constant victim of a biased press, which is indeed largely owned by his political rivals, notably Gilvam Borges of the PMDB, whose family owns 16 radio stations and 2 TV channels.

State elections in Amapá are always a messy and confusing affair with several candidates. The much-weakened state government was behind governor Camilo Capiberibe (PSB)’s reelection bid. His coalition included the PT, PCdoB and PSOL. The PSOL is quite strong in Amapá – with the victory of senator Randolfe Rodrigues in 2010, and the election of the first PSOL mayor in a Brazilian state capital with Clécio Luís’ victory in Macapá in 2012 (defeating PDT incumbent Roberto Góes, the corrupt cousin of Waldez Góes). The PT, although they’re pro-Sarney nationally, is a longstanding ally of the Capiberibe’s PSB in Amapá and they finally remained behind the governor this year. Vice-governor Dora Nascimento (PT) considered an independent gubernatorial candidacy for the PT, but instead she ran for Senate on Camilo’s slate. The PSOL was also rumoured to be eyeing a candidacy of its own (perhaps Randolfe Rodrigues, who dropped out of the presidential race), but united behind Camilo. Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, on bad terms with the national PSOL and PSOL presidential candidate Luciana Genro, did not endorse Camilo in the first round – he only did so in the runoff, if only because he was up against a corrupt old guard politico. The awkward PSB-PT-PSOL alliance in Amapá also agreed to disagreed on presidential politics – all three parties supported their respective parties’ presidential candidates in the first round, on the agreement that Camilo would not appear onstage with any presidential candidate.

The main opposition candidate was former two-term governor Waldez Góes (PDT), the corrupt old politico arrested for a few days in 2010. His coalition included the PP (former senator Papaléo Paes was his running-mate) and the PMDB. Waldez Góes tried to get the PT’s support, with no success. Since 2012/2013, serious rumours had been going around that Sarney – Brazil’s longest-serving politician and PMDB senator from Amapá since 1990 – would finally call it quits for real in 2014. In June, Senator José Sarney confirmed that he would be retiring, officially because he was tired and wanted to spend more time with his wife, who has health problems. Unofficially, he had confided to colleagues that he was worried that he would not be reelected if he went for it. Gilvam Borges (PMDB), a close and loyal Sarney ally, was the coalition’s senatorial candidate. Gilvam has been one of the top opponents of the governor, even setting up a ‘parallel government’Waldez Góes and his coalition benefited (?) from Sarney’s official endorsement. Sarney’s critics noted that the incumbent ‘senator from Amapá’ visited Amapá more times during this campaign than he had in his entire 8 year term since 2006.

Lucas Barreto, now in the PSD, ran for governor again – he had run in 2010, with Sarney’s backing, and had made it into the runoff against Camilo. In 2012, Lucas Barreto was elected municipal councillor in Macapá, at the time he supported the PSOL candidate. Lucas Barreto tried to get Sarney and the PT’s support, unsuccessfully. Lucas Barreto is also a longstanding ally of Sarney – he was mixed up in a Senate nepotism scandal involving Sarney in 2007. His senatorial candidate was Davi Alcolumbre (DEM), a young three-term federal deputy. Davi is a former ally of Sarney, who later broke with him. In 2012, Davi ran for mayor of Macapá and lost by the first round, but threw his support behind the PSOL in the runoff. Some in the PT complained that Davi benefited from unofficial, underhanded support from the PSOL. PSOL senator Randolfe Rodrigues even officially supported Davi, to oppose Sarney’s Gilvam. Lucas Barreto’s coalition included the PSD, DEM, PSDB and SD, so he was unofficially behind Aécio.

Bruno Mineiro (PTdoB), a young businessman and former cabinet secretary (transportation) in the current state government, ran for governor with the support of the PR, PRB, PROS, PV and smaller parties. Bruno Mineiro is also a Sarney ally, unofficially backed by the retiring senator to provide a ‘fresh face’ and non-corrupt alternative to the old Sarney clique.

Jorge Amanajás, a former three-term federal deputy, ran for governor – a second candidacy after an unsuccessful run in 2013, in which he placed a close third, narrowly missing out on a runoff spot. Jorge Amanajás was in the PSDB in 2010 and was the PMDB’s official candidate in that election, but he left the PSDB in 2013, complaining that the national PSDB was using the PSDB-AP as a bargaining chip in other state elections, and joined the PPS to continue fueling his gubernatorial ambitions. His coalition included the PPS, PEN, PMN, PRP, PTC, PTB and other small parties. Prosecutor Moisés Rivaldo (PEN) was the coalition’s senatorial candidate (although he also supported Bruno Mineiro), although the small PRP, PMN, PRTB and PTC ran senatorial candidates of their own too. Moisés Rivaldo is considered to be a fairly honest and non-corrupt guy.

Waldez Góes was the favourite for the entire campaign, although the field was too divided for him to stand a serious chance of winning by the first round (which only happened in 2006). Waldez was attacked by his rivals for his corruption and 2010 arrest, but he cared little and the issue never hurt him. The main question surrounded the name of his challenger in the runoff – the incumbent governor, polling a distant second/third, or the PSD’s Lucas Barreto. As expected, Waldez placed a solid first with 42.2% of the votes, while the governor won 27.5%, a bit better than expected but still a poor result indicating that he mostly failed to overcome his unpopularity as chief executive. Lucas Barreto was third with a mediocre 13.9%, the only other candidate to clear 10%. Bruno Mineiro won 7.9% and Amanajás won 7.1%. It was quite clear that Waldez would win the runoff barring unexpected changes. Jorge Amanajás and Bruno Mineiro personally endorsed Waldez; the PR, PRB, PTdoB, SD, PSD, PSC, PPL, PSDC and PROS also backed Waldez. The DEM and senator-elect Davi endorsed the governor, as did the PEN. The PT, despite discomfort over getting fucked over by the PSOL in the senatorial contest and lobbying from Waldez, reiterated its support for Camilo. In exchange, the PSB-AP endorsed Dilma in the runoff, unlike the national PSB which backed Aécio. Senator Randolfe Rodrigues (PSOL) also endorsed Camilo, to defeat Waldez if nothing else. It was, obviously, very little and Camilo was unable to make up the huge difference with his rival. Waldez won the second round with 60.6%, returning for a third term as governor of Amapá. His victory might be a consolation prize for Sarney, who had a bad election cycle.

However, in the senatorial contest, Sarney heavyweight candidate Gilvam Borges (PMDB) was upset in a close race by Sarney opponent Davi Alcolumbre (DEM), who defeated him by 2 points – 36.3% to 34.3%. Gilvam had been the big favourite, coming into the election with a 14 point lead (33-19) in September although his lead had shrunk to only 2 points in October, 32-30. Given his persistently weak polling numbers (31-33%), the undecideds seemingly broke heavily against the well-known and corrupt Gilvam and in favour of his young opponent. I wouldn’t go as far as qualifying this a ‘David defeats Goliath’ election as Davi has said, but it’s a significant defeat for the Sarney clique in Amapá.

Former mayor of Macapá Roberto Góes (PDT) was the most popular candidate for the Chamber of Deputies, with 5.7% of the vote. Janete Capiberibe (PSB), the defeated governor’s mother, was reelected with 5.5% of the vote. Overall, all 8 seats in the Chamber from AP went to different parties. The governor-elect’s wife Marília Góes (PDT) was reelected to a second term as state deputy, with the most votes of any candidate in AP (3%). Waldez’ PDT and PMDB only won 4 out of 24 seats in the Legislative Assembly, but he may also count on the backing of the PRB (4), PSDB (2), PROS (2), PSC (2) and PTB (2), so Waldez’ relationship with the state legislature is likely to be much better than Camilo’s.



Suely Campos (PP) 41.48%
Chico Rodrigues (PSB)* 37.62%
Ângela Portela (PT) 18.03%
Hamilton Cavalcante (PSOL) 2.87%


Telmário Mota (PDT) 41.24%
Luciano Castro (PR) 21.33%
Anchieta Júnio (PSDB) 20.56%
Mozarildo Cavalcanti (PTB)* 10.89%
Josy Carvalho (PPL) 4.88%
Dionisio Alves (PSTU) 1.09%

The state of Roraima, Brazil’s northernmost and least populated state (about 497,000 people), is geographically remote and has little to no importance in the broader context of Brazilian politics. Roraima, like Amapá, is Brazil’s youngest state, joining the federation as a full member only with promulgation of the 1988 Constitution and directly electing its first governor in 1990. State politics have unsurprisingly been dominated by a small, largely conservative, group of politicians. In 1990, Ottomar Pinto (PTB), a former federal deputy from the territory and bionic governor of the territory under the military regime (1979-1983), defeated Romero Jucá (PDS), the first (appointed) governor of the state (1988-1990). In 1994, Neudo Campos (PTB), supported by the outgoing governor, was elected; he was reelected in 1998 (for the PPB), after having broken with Ottomar Pinto in order to strengthen his own power, defeating candidates backed by Romero Jucá (Teresa Surita, PSDB) and Ottomar Pinto (his wife senator Marluce Pinto, PMDB). Under his second term as governor, he was at the centre of a vast corruption scheme which embezzled millions of reais in public funds in ‘salaries’ for fictitious jobs. A Federal Police operation in November 2003 uncovered the scandal. In 2002, Flamarion Portela (PSL/PT), supported by Neudo Campos (who himself failed to win a seat in the Senate), was elected against Ottomar Pinto, but the outcome was challenged in court by the losing candidate, and in 2004 Flamarion was removed from office by the TSE for abuse of political and economic power in 2002. Ottomar Pinto (PSDB) was reelected in 2006, defeating Romero Jucá (PMDB), who has been serving in the Senate since his election in 1994. Ottomar Pinto died in December 2007, and was replaced by his vice-governor José de Anchieta Júnior (PSDB). The 2010 election between the incumbent governor Anchieta, backed by Romero Jucá’s PMDB, and former governor Neudo Campos (who had resigned his seat in the Chamber of Deputies in August 2010 to escape prosecution), backed by the PT, was extremely close. In the second round, Anchieta defeated Neudo Campos by a hair – 50.4% to 49.6%.

Anchieta’s administration invested a lot in paving and expanding roads, sanitation or expanding access to electricity throughout the remote state. His opponents criticized him for the increased debt (from 41.6% to 75% of revenues since 2011), ballooning personnel costs (from 35% to 46% of revenues since 2011). Anchieta has been involved in a corruption case which has dogged him for his entire term – in February 2011, the TRE ordered his removal for office for having used, in 2010, the state radio station for personal promotion. However, he was granted an injunction by the TSE until all appeals were heard, and he remained in office for the duration of his term, until he resigned in April 2014 to run for Senate. Chico Rodrigues (PSB, ex-DEM), his vice-governor, replaced him as governor.

Former governor Neudo Campos (PP) was originally set to run for governor himself, but he faced several insurmountable obstacles to his candidacy. In June, the Court of Audit of the Union indicated that Neudo may be ineligible since he was sentenced by the TCU, in 2008, to pay a R$ 1.252 million fine for diverting funds earmarked for road construction to the salaries of fictitious employees. In July, the STF denied him an injunction against the TCU’s ruling. In August, the TRE rejected his application for candidacy and upheld its decision a second time a few days later. In September, therefore, Neudo was forced to withdraw his candidacy in favour of his wife, Suely Campos (PP). In October, the TRE confirmed her candidacy. She was supported by the DEM and PTB. The coalition supported the reelection bid of incumbent senator Mozarildo Cavalcanti (PTB), first elected in 1998 (backed by Neudo) and reelected in 2006 (backed by Ottomar Pinto, against Teresa Surita, Romero Jucá’s ex).

New governor Chico Rodrigues (PSB) ran for reelection, backed by a very large coalition including the PSDB, PMDB, PR, PRB, SD, PSD, PROS, PPS and basically all the venal joke parties. His running-mate was Rodrigo Jucá (PMDB), the 32-year old son of senator Romero Jucá. The coalition also had the support of Romero Jucá and the mayor of Boa Vista Teresa Surita (PMDB, Romero Jucá’s ex-wife); nationally the coalition backed Campos/Marina and Aécio. Romero Jucá was government leader in the Senate for FHC but also for Lula and Dilma (2005-2012), but switched sides again this year, calling Dilma a ‘socialist’ applying policies from ‘Albania and Kazakhstan’ and endorsing Aécio. The PMDB has usually supported the PSDB in RR. The coalition’s official senatorial candidate was former governor Anchieta Júnior (PSDB), although federal deputy and Senate candidate Luciano Castro (PR) also supported the governor’s reelection.

Senator Ângela Portela (PT), elected to the Senate on Neudo’s slate in 2010, ran for governor herself, backed by a small coalition including the PT, PDT, PCdoB, PTC and PV. Ângela Portela is the wife of former governor and current state deputy Flamarion Portela (PTC). Former municipal councillor Telmário Mota (PDT) was the coalition’s senatorial candidate. He already ran for Senate, in 2010, winning 12.8% and fourth.

Neudo was the favourite when he was in the race, but after he dropped out, his wife’s numbers were lower. The last poll, from Ibope on October 2, showed the incumbent governor back in the lead, 38 to 31, against Suely, with the PT candidate way back in third. However, Suely placed first in the first round, with 41.5%, while the governor was second with 37.6%. Portela won 18%. In the senatorial race, in a huge upset, Telmário Mota (PDT), in second in the last poll with 20%, soundly defeated all his rivals with 41.2%. Former governor Anchieta, who had led the last poll with 25%, placed third with only 20.6%, with Luciana Castro (PR) placing a surprisingly strong second with 21.3% of the vote. The incumbent senator won only 10.9%.

In the runoff campaign, Suely received the endorsement of Ângela Portela (PT) and senator-elect Telmário Mota (PDT). She was elected with 54.9% of the vote. Suely was the only woman to be elected governor of a Brazilian state in this year’s election cycle.

In the Chamber of Deputies, 8 parties split RR’s 8 seats. Anchieta’s young wife Shéridan (PSDB) was the most popular candidate, with 15% of the vote and over 35.5k votes. Crazily enough, Suely’s PP won only 1 seat in Roraima’s 24-seat state legislature, where the PMDB is the largest party with 3 seats, followed by the PRB (3), PSDC (2), PSL (2) and PRP (2). Good luck with that.

Thank you for reading this post.


Posted on December 22, 2014, in Brazil, Regional and local elections. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Very interesting. Brazil clearly has a very diverse political environment.

  2. Thank you for the very detailed analysis.

    Being from Brazil (and a supporter of the PT), I think some of your observations on the camapaign are somewhat superficial. For instance, it seems simplistic to say that accusing Aécio Neves of being against bolsa família is false. While he certainly denied any intents to repeal the program, his voters were overwhelmingly (and sometimes rabidly) against it; it seems that they didn’t believe in Aécio’s promise to keep the program.

    But I would like to focus in a different issue: the supposed surge of Marina Silva, and her susbsequent fall.

    It is very curious that the erratic developments shown by the surveys ended in an election where the voting was so close and similar to the vote in 2010. Dilma won some 4 pp less in the first round in 2014 compared to 2010; Aécio won some 1 pp more, and Marina Silva won some 2 pp more. So, after so much roller coaster moves (with Aécio falling from some 20 pp to 14, and then raising back to 30), the election results were basically the same one would predict by looking at the 2010 results.

    Besides, the Datafolha published a survey, dated from October 15th, that investigated the moment in which voters decided their 1st round vote (it can be found in the link below; the relevant question is featured in page 144).

    These data seem to directly contradict the turbulent evolution of the vote as published by themselves and other pollsters.

    Here (, I published an article showing the problems with the Datafolha’s figures, and the incompatibility of their figures before the 1st round and their figures on when voters decided their vote. It is in Portuguese for the moment, though I intend to do an English translation soon.

    Hope this adds somehow to the discussion of the results.

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