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By Moises Costa, Brown University
The electorate saw a real alternative to traditional politics in Marina Silva. Prior to her candidacy all three major candidates—Aécio Neves (PSDB), Dilma Rousseff (PT), and Eduardo Campos (PSB)—were traditional faces of Brazilian politics, leading the electorate to think that change from the status quo was not really in the near future. Marina, however, has been trying to distance herself from the traditional parties and only ended up running as vice-president with the Socialist Party (PSB) because her newly formed political group, Sustainable Network, did not get legalized as a political party in time for this year’s election. She has always made it clear she did not represent all of the ideas promoted by the Socialists and had no intention in remaining with them long term. Her open criticism of current political debates caught the attention of disillusioned voters and even though most people were not sure how she would bring change, they were willing to give it a try since it was something different.
"If Dilma wins, continuity will be the norm...If Aécio wins we should see a more “market-oriented” approach to government, with leaner government structures and external attention to the developed world, which has largely been ignored by the current government."
In the eve of the runoff election things have become very familiar to most Brazilian voters. The large PT and PSDB are facing each other like everyone expected from the beginning. Aécio have used the corruption scandals and the motivators for the protests that happened in Brazil during the last couple of years to attack the current government. Dilma have accused her opponent of embracing elitist policies, which will undo all of the social progress her party has brought to the country during the last few years. The large proportion of blank and null votes indicates the disillusionment of the Brazilian population with politics. But what should we expect?
If Aécio wins we should see a more “market-oriented” approach to government, with leaner government structures and external attention to the developed world, which has largely been ignored by the current government. His foreign policy should be more directed by economic interests rather than political ones, which seems to be the status quo. The attempt to establish Brazil as a globally relevant political actor will be similar to the current approach, which emphasizes the country’s request for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council and its consolidated role as a mediator for the developing world in international negotiations. But at the end of the day it will still be politics as usual.
Do any of the two candidates offer a faster and better road to improvement? I think so, but neither one will destroy what has already been built. That is why most of the world continues to be optimistic about Brazil’s future, and so am I!
-Moises Costa is a Brazilian scholarat Brown University, USA.
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