So let’s talk a bit of politics, Brasilian politics that is. I have been here in Brasil now for almost three weeks and it has been an incredible learning experience on so many fronts. My Portuguese, albeit still at a beginner/intermediate level, has improved immensely and my knowledge of this fascinating country grows daily. So to start us off, lets talk presidential elections. The elections are less than a month away and the candidates are in full campaign swing. The front-runner, Dilma Rousseff of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party) is the current president’s (Ignacio Lula da Silva) handpicked successor.
Dilma (Pictured with Lula above) has never held an elected office and is seen by many as someone who will keep the presidential seat warm so that Lula can run again in four years. I wouldn’t count those chickens quite yet though. Dilma has proven herself a tough campaigner and has bested her closest rival in both the televised and the internet debates.
Dilma’s top rival José Serra (pronounced Seha), in contrast to Dilma, has not proven to be a skilled campaigner. He has made several freshman mistakes both on the campaign trail and in the debates. He does, however, have a strong track record as the Governor of the state of São Paulo.
Now, those are the big two and they are fighting it out until the very end. Current Polls have Dilma at 42% and Serra at 32%.
A third candidate, however, has caught a lot of people’s eye in this race, even though she has little to no chance of winning the race. Her name is Marina Silva and she is running on the not-so-powerful Green Party ticket.
Marina is a very intelligent candidate and is most likely the most charismatic of the three candidates. Not to mention her online campaign is leagues ahead of the other two candidates’. Her popularity has grown, many say, because of the fact that she is able to speak her mind and not play candidate so much because she is not going to win. Perhaps. I would also say that many people are discontented with the other two candidates and Marina Silva has worked hard to win them over.
What happens now:
If any one candidate can get over 50% of the vote they will win the election and take office soon thereafter. If no candidate can get over the relative majority threshold, then the top two candidates will go into a runoff election to be held one month later. It is currently believed that Dilma will take the election in the first round, but some estimate that because there is so much talk about her winning, some people may decide to switch their vote to Marina Silva. I have no idea, but what I do know is that I love talking to people all around the country about what THEY think.
Ah, and, “What do the numbers mean on the campaign propaganda?,” you ask. That will be revealed in Part 2 on the Brasilian elections.
Até mais amigos!