brazils presidential election

The Presidential Election



rival mighty face off
election upcoming against each other
former long gone get with it
guerrilla incumbent represent
pro- anti- centrist
head (2) at stake stronghold
candidate confidence downtown
monetary implement announce
delay merely recession
glory point out knock-on effect
suffer campaign platform
elect launch austerity
admire stabilize rampant
critic soar credit (3)
reign depend on substantially
insist poverty foundation
enact scatter region
vast reside beneficiary
arid afford otherwise
hub drought compete
persist discontent underlying
boil boil over grievance
fee hike (2) abstain
access election majority
agenda dominate opinion poll
poll (2) opinion round (2)
vote crony promise
lobby accuse coalition


Audio Report


Now the scene for our next report is Brazil. Two mighty rivals face off against each other. And there can only be one winner.

No, we’re not talking about football. Get with it. World Cup fever is long gone.

And all the talk on the streets of Sao Paulo is of the upcoming election.

Incumbent, Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla who fought against Brazil’s military dictatorship, represents the center-left PT, or Workers’ Party.

Aecio Neves is a pro-business centrist who heads the PSDB Social Democratic Party.

So what’s at stake? Sam Cowie has been finding out.

Sao Paulo is Brazil and South America’s financial and industrial capital, and a stronghold for the PSDB Party.

Hobson Delfior is a Sao Paulo-based IT professional. After a successful career at IBM, today Hobson runs his own IT firm, ESV Digital, which specializes in online advertising.

He rents an office in downtown Sao Paulo on the thirtieth floor and employs 40 members of staff.

Hobson says that his business is going well, but increasing running costs such as office space and staff wages—both linked to rising inflation—are slowing it down.

For him and his customers, who are mainly e-commerce merchants, rising inflation means lower profits that they can use to expand their business.

Hobson is backing Neves as he believes the PSDB candidate will renew the international market’s confidence in Brazil.

He believes that Neves will implement monetary policies that will calm inflation help return high levels of growth back to the country.

Hobson: “So today inflation is going up, growth is going down. And this is a dangerous situation because we depend on the international market, and inflation can reduce a lot of power.”

When President Dilma Rousseff took over office in 2010, Brazil’s GDP was around 7.5%; this year it’s likely to be less than 1%.

And at the end of August, it was announced that Brazil had dropped into a technical recession.

Rousseff and the PT maintain that it was merely a delayed knock-on effect of the world financial crisis, and points out that despite this, employment levels, wages and living standards continued to rise.

On the other side, businessmen like Hopson are excited by Aecio Neves who has promised to return Brazil to it’s glory days of high growth.

Dilma Rousseff, however, has been campaigning on a ghosts of the past platform, saying that the last time Neves’ PSDB was in power, Brazil suffered for it.

After being elected in 1994, PSDB’s then president Fernando Henrique Cardoso launched a series of austerity measures, which his admirers credited him for stabilizing Brazil’s rampant inflation.

His critics however, maintain that it came at a high social cost.

During Cardoso’s reign, unemployment soared and wages stayed low. By the time he had finished his second term, his approval ratings had fallen dramatically.

In 2002, Luiz Inacio Lula De Silva, a former steelworkers’ union leader, and one of the founding members of the PT Workers’ Party, became Brazil’s first working class president, after three previous attempts.

Lula went on to become the most popular president in Brazil’s history, substantially raising Brazil’s minimum wage and enacting wide-ranging social programs, lifting tens of millions out of poverty.

Many insist though, that Lula’s success was built on the foundations laid by Cardoso.

Brazil’s 200 million citizens are scatter across a country of vast regional differences.

The largest portion of people who benefited under PT government reside in the country’s arid northeast, historically Brazil’s poorest region.

Twenty-year old Emanuela Jomao is a psychology student at a university in the northeastern state of Penumbocu.

She says she’ll be voting for Dilma. Emanuela says that working-class Brazilians like herself have access to quality education and consumer goods such as cars and air travel.

She says a vote for Aecio Neves would be a step backwards for Brazil.

“I’m from a poor background. My father was a working-class guy who didn’t earn much money.

The PT introduced programs that meant I could go to university for free, which is something I couldn’t afford otherwise.

So I’m a direct beneficiary; that’s why I’m voting for Dilma.”

For years, drought and extreme poverty in the Northeast saw many Northeasterners like Emanuela heading to the wealthy hubs of Sao Paulo and Rio in search of work.

These days while still poor, the Northeast is experiencing huge growth, with mega-projects such as the Suwapi Port providing jobs.

There are new universities and tech and pharmaceutical clusters.

While the two presidential candidates persist in arguing over competing ideologies, analysts and critics say they’re not so different after all.

Soha El-Cadun teaches at two Rio de Janeiro public schools and took part in a majority of last year’s protests.

She says she abstained from voting in the first round and will be doing so again in the second.

She says that Dilma and Neves are too similar for her to choose one over another.

“I didn’t vote because neither of the candidates offered me anything in terms of ideology.”

Underlying discontent boiled over in June 2013 when more than a million Brazilians took to the streets to protest a hike in transport fees.

This ballooned to include several other grievances including spending on World Cup stadiums and government corruption.

While the protests have finished, in the run up to the elections opinion polls consistently reported that Brazilians wanted change.

Yet this election has been dominated by the same old parties with the same old agendas.

The former environmental minister, Marina Silva, who promised a new politics, and at one point led the polls, came in a distant third to Aecio Neves in the first round.

The election also saw the largest number of blank and no votes since 1994.

Both Rousseff’s and Neves’ parties have been accused of corruption.

Given Brazil’s multiparty system, if elected, either candidate will have to govern in coalition with cronies of Brazil’s old elite: agrobusiness giants and the powerful religious lobby, meaning the likelihood of pushing through reforms will even be more problematic.

The final round of voting will take place on Sunday, the 26th of October.


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1. Who are the candidates for Brazil’s presidential election? What parties do they represent?

2. Where is the stronghold of the PSDB party? What kind of people support Neves? Why will they vote for Neves?

3. What does the IT owner say about inflation and Neves?

4. Dilma Rousseff has been campaigning on a ghosts of the past platform of the PSDB. What does this mean?

5. What do Cardoso’s critics and admirers say about him?

6. What happened when Lula became president?

7. Are all regions of Brazil the same? Who do people in the northeast of Brazil support?

8. Emanuela is voting for Rousseff. Why is Emanuela voting for Rousseff?

9. Who is Soja the teacher from Rio de Janeiro voting for? Why isn’t she voting?

10. The journalist said, “This election has been dominated by the same old parties with the same old agendas,” and the “old elite”. What does this mean? Who is Marina Silva?
A. What are the good and bad points of the PT party?

B. What are the good and bad points of the PT party?

C. What would you do if you were president? If I were president, I would…..

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