The Brazilian Election 2014
Incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT) is running for re-election. Her strategy is centered on poverty-reduction measures, but economic weakness, coupled with the indebted middle class frustration with the Workers’ Party, could be Dilma Rouseff’s undoing.
Election day is on 5 October. If no one wins a majority the second round will be on 26 October.
Rousseff promises to boost expenditure in widely-popular programmes such as Bolsa Familia (an income transfer scheme) and Minha Casa Minha Vida (My Home, My Life -a social housing scheme).
But economic weakness, coupled with the indebted middle class frustration with the Workers’ Party, could be Dilma Rouseff’s undoing. Her party has been in the presidency now for 12 years and voters — mainly the south — are looking to give the Workers’ Party their walking papers in October.
However, the party remains a strong political force in the northern half of the country, which benefited greatly from the social welfare programs that took millions out of Africa-style poverty in states like Bahia.
But the political undercurrents to the recent FIFA World Cup have been unprecedented, and will have been compounded by the ignominy of seeing the World Cup trophy handed to Germany. With the prospect of a Brazilian victory off the table, many feared that the pre-tournament protests would be reignited. They’ve remained low-key so far, but the chants against Dilma Rouseff that echoed around the stadium during the Germany defeat could be an uncomfortable glimpse of what is to come.
Rousseff boosted cash transfers to the poor earlier in the year ahead of the election and has said that she will increase income tax exemptions for 2015, and pledged to continue raising the minimum wage.
But after building three million homes for lower income families over the past five years, the Minha Casa, Minha Vida programme is on hold before the election and financial analysts believe that Brazil needs to cut spending to help bring inflation under control, boost investments and quicken growth.
“They’re promising paradise, not blood, sweat and tears,” said Jankiel Santos, chief economist at Banco Espirito Santo de Investimento. “A budget tightening is inevitable, so these pledges may become a political liability.”