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  1. #1
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    Dec 2013
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    Brazil 2014 Election

    The Guardian
    Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, rode the success of her income redistribution programme to come out on top in a first-round election on Sunday, but failed to secure the overall majority needed to avoid a run-off.


    After a rollercoaster campaign, 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 left-right battle between the nation’s two biggest parties is a disappointment to those who had hoped for change in the form of former environment minister Marina Silva, who led the polls at one stage, but faded into a distant third place with 21.3% – almost the same as she managed during her last attempt four years ago.

    I'm no expert on Brazilian politics, but the elimination of Marina Silva is a bit of a let down from a theatrical perspective. A couple of weeks ago, all the buzz was about the unique spectacle of two extraordinary women vying for control of one of the world's largest nations and democracies.


    To think that a former female guerilla fighter -- Rousseff -- imprisoned and tortured by the regime, could be seen as the conventional candidate compared to Silva's Afro-Brazilian heritage, environmental activism (incl. association with Chico Mendes) and from-rags-to-the-national-stage story ... well, it certainly makes my own nation's politics look even more tepid and pathetic than usual.


    Still, even as Silva has been eliminated and some of the excitement (from a foreign perspective) has gone out of things, the election confirms Brazil's status as one of the world's most dynamic and intriguing nations.

  2. #2
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    Here's a speech by Marina Silva that first brought the election to my attention a few weeks back. Translation below:



    "Dilma! Know that I’m not going to fight you with your weapons. I’m going to fight you with our truth. With our respect. And with our policies.


    We are going to keep the Bolsa Família. Do you know why? Because I was born in the Seringal Bagaço, and I know what it is to go hungry.


    All that my mother used to have for eight children was an egg and a bit of flour and salt, and some chopped onion. I remember looking at my father and mother and asking: Are you not going to eat? And my mother answered… my mother answered: We are not hungry.


    And a child believed that. But afterwards, I understood that for yet another day, they had nothing to eat.


    Someone who has lived through that will never end the Bolsa Familia.


    This is not a speech. It is a life."

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