Rousseff wins first round in Brazilian elections

Submitted by Matthew on 8 October, 2014 - 10:45 Author: Raquel Palmeira

In the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections, the incumbent Dilma Rousseff (Workers Party) took 41.1% of the vote ahead of Aecio Neves (pro-business social-democratic party) on 34.2%.

They will now face each other in a second round of voting on 26 October.

Socialist Party candidate Marina Silva got only 21.3%. This is surprising, as Silva had been favourite to win at one point. However it is unusual for a candidate to come close to challenging the two main parties.

Protests in June and July expressed growing disillusionment with the main two parties. Many talked about not voting for either. Silva gathered supporters with her “new politics”, which while having a large green and anti-corruption element, pandered to both left and right. Silva is contradictory, changing her platform to fit who she’s talking to. That’s why she found it difficult to maintain votes. Many people demanding political change ended up being polarised into the usual camps and therefore voting for either Rousseff or Neves.

Rousseff is regarded by many as “bad but not as bad as the others”. Many trade unions actively campaigned against Neves, implicitly calling for a vote for Rousseff as a less bad option. Rousseff has a history of some dialogue with the labour movement.

Neves represents a neoliberal agenda, and has called for new laws to curb the rights of unions.

Neves is anti-choice and anti-same-sex marriage. However, despite Rousseff having a history of being more pro-choice and for marriage equality, she has not taken up these issues during this election campaign.

She has stayed quiet in order to pacify and pander to the church organisations backing her candidacy.