Global Security Headlines

Monday, October 4, 2010

Brazil Election Update: On to Second Round

The final poll - the actual vote - painted a mixed picture on Sunday when Brazilians went to the polls to choose a new president, federal representatives and senators, governors, and state representatives.

The incumbent Partido Trabalhista (PT) made gains in the Senate, but President Lula's hand-picked favorite to succeed him, Dilma Rousseff, fell short of the 50%  needed to avoid a longer campaign and greater scrutiny. She scored only 46.9%, less than Lula's 48.9% in 2006.

Given a strong economy, an adored President Lula, and  party hacks engaged in chicanery to spy on her closest rival, the former Marxist guerrilla had the wind at her back. Yet she was thwarted from obtaining a clean sweep therefore forcing a second round on October 31.

Election polls before the election uniformly gave Ms. Rousseff a comfortable lead above the 50% mark ahead of her main rival bidding to replace Lula, Jose Serra of the Social Democrat Party, who scored 33% of the vote. His party racked up four governorships in the first round showing muscle at the state level.

The third candidate, soft-spoken Marina Silva of the Green Party, is now the king maker after grabbing nearly 20% of the vote. While her followers lean toward the Serra camp, four weeks is a long time in politics.

It is clear the unease reported in the pre-election post pervades the electorate. More than 50% voted against the incumbent PT party's candidate, Ms. Rousseff. She is not  Lula.

Her well-manicured campaign based almost solely on Lula's sky-high popularity backfired.

Now she will have to speak up and attempt to reassure the public her revolutionary past is really history and she is prepared to lead Brazil forward on its date with destiny as a powerhouse in the XXI century.

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