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Run-off in Brazil
Brazil's Rousseff Survives, For Now

In Brazil’s Presidential election this Sunday, incumbent Dilma Rousseff failed to win enough votes to take the race. The race will therefore go into a second-round run-off. All this was expected in what has been a uniquely close and contested race. What was unexpected, however, was who the run-off would be against: not the leftist evangelical candidate Marina Silva but the center-right Aecio Neves. Rousseff has a better chance of defeating Neves in the runoff than she would have had against Silva, who would have had an easier time bringing center-left and evangelical voters into her coalition. The Guardian:

The Workers Party incumbent came from behind to win 41.4% of the vote and will now face Aécio Neves of the pro-business Social Democratic party, who secured second with a spectacular late surge that boosted his vote to 33.7%. […]

The president is now in a strong position to secure a second term. Surveys suggest she will win a second-round vote against Neves by 48% to 42%. But momentum is on Neves’ side, and Silva could yet throw her support behind the challenger, so another surprise cannot be ruled out when the polls open again on 26 October.

A second Dilma term, however, might not be such a great thing for her Partido dos Trabalhadores. There is a tendency—noticeable also in the U.S.—for second terms to be less successful than first. If the world economy remains sluggish, the high commodity prices (“the commodity boom”) that have underpinned the Brazilian economy are unlikely to persist. A second Rousseff term could see more pressure on her from unions and those business interests that benefit from state intervention even as these external conditions turn unfavorable. And, as usually happens, scandals grow, sapping at the government’s credibility. 

Six years ago Brazilians thought they were on the way to first-world economic stature. Today they are less confident. Whoever wins the run-off election is going to have to deliver on the economy. If Rousseff can’t, the momentum that appears to be building behind Neves and the Social Democrats could continue. 

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  • FriendlyGoat

    Curiously, economies sometimes get stronger during terms of presidents who are NOT the favorites of the business community. Consider the Clinton years vs. the George W. Bush years.

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