terça-feira, 23 de setembro de 2008

As eleições municipais no Brasil: a análise do jornalismo econômico inglês

Não deixa de ser interessante saber como os outros nos vêem. Por isso mesmo, coloco aí abaixo uma análise das eleições municipais de outubro publicada por site inglês dedicado ao jornalismo econômico.

Political alliances in Brazil
Published: 23 September, 2008
The campaign for Brazil’s October 5th 2008 municipal elections has dominated the political scene in recent months. Some 5,560 municipalities will vote for mayors and local assemblies, and, although local issues have gotten the most attention in the campaign, the outcome of the contests will have wider implications for the 2010 presidential election. In many cases the network of political alliances built now will be replicated nationally in two years’ time.

The most important municipal race is in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and financial capital, where a former mayor, Marta Suplicy (2001-04), from the ruling Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), took an early lead in the opinion polls.

Ms Suplicy left the city hall with record levels of unpopularity less than four years ago. She has since staged a remarkable political comeback, benefiting from the huge popularity of the president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whereas the opposition has failed to present a united front. The Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB), Brazil’s main opposition party, is split between its own candidate, Geraldo Alckmin, a former governor of São Paulo state, and the incumbent mayor, Gilberto Kassab, from the right-wing Democratas. Mr Kassab has the support of the current PSDB governor of São Paulo and presidential hopeful, José Serra.

According to recent polls, Ms Suplicy is leading with around 40% of voting intentions. Mr Alckmin, who was in second place, has lost some ground to Mr Kassab and they are in a virtual tie now with around 20% of voting intentions each. An electoral triumph in São Paulo would further strengthen the ruling PT. It would also boost Ms Suplicy’s profile within the party, increasing her chances of being chosen the presidential candidate for 2010 (which would, nonetheless, force her to resign the mayorship).

Alliancein Belo Horizonte

In Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais (another important Brazilian state), the PT and the PSDB have joined forces behind a left-wing candidate belonging to a third party, the Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB), Márcio Lacerda. Mr Lacerda is supported by both the incumbent PT mayor, José Pimentel, and the current PSDB state governor, Aécio Neves, who is another presidential hopeful.

After a slow start in the opinion polls, Mr Lacerda’s fortunes have rapidly improved as the electoral campaign has intensified and he is now leading the polls with around 40% of voters’ intentions. The PT-PSDB alliance in Belo Horizonte, which has caused some discomfort among some local PT officials, has been widely seen as an astute tactical move by Mr Neves, which, if successful, can boost his chances of gaining his party’s presidential nomination for 2010.

Fast forward to 2010

So far the PT has failed to come up with a strong possible successor to Lula, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term. There is no clear contender despite the various factors that would work in favour of keeping the PT in the presidential office. These include, besides Lula’s own popularity, the solid performance of Brazil’s economy and the government’s popular income-redistribution programmes.

Among the potential PT candidates is Lula’s chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, whom the president has implied might be his preferred successor. An influential figure within the administration, Ms Rousseff co-ordinates the cabinet and is in charge of executing the many infrastructure projects in the flagship Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC, growth-acceleration programme). She is taking an active part in the local electoral campaign in order to boost her political profile.

The Economist Intelligence Unit currently expects the ruling PT to increase its share of mayorships on October 5th, on the back of Lula’s record popularity. (Where needed, a second-round vote will be held on October 26th.) A good performance for the PT will increase the incentive for the Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (PMDB), Brazil’s largest party, to remain in the government’s camp and seek an alliance with it for 2010.

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