Since I have been spending a lot of time in Brazil recently, I found myself in the middle of electoral campaigns for the Brazilian general elections. They were held in Brazil on October 5th to elect the President, the National Congress, state governors and state legislatures. Since no candidate in the presidential and gubernatorial elections received more than 50% of the vote, a second-round runoff will be held on 26 October with Brazilian citizens being able to chose between Dilma Roussef (PT, Workers’ Party) and Aécio Neves (PSDB, Brazilian Social Democracy Party).
Campaigning for presidential elections in Brazil seems quite different to me than in other countries. Supporting a party seems a bit like supporting your favourite football team (cheering and singing the national anthem, waving your candidate’s flags, defaming the other “team”/ party…). One day before the runoff election a typical Brazilian communication medium was chosen: cars with loudspeakers on top. They transmitted everything from turned-political Axé music to forró and funk to transmit their messages for whom to vote and drove along the coastline of South zone quarters.
Apart from that, there were a lot of people and groups with flags walking around Copacabana beachwalk distributing buttons for their respective candidates with corresponding electoral code.
Other people driving around with cars and motorbikes waving their flags.
Houses were decorated.
Additional information about the elections:
Brazilian journalist Anderson Antunes writes about why Aécio Neves should be elected Brazil’s next president.
A good article (in German) about the elections
A British friend of mine who is almost Brazilian already, having lived in Rio for about 4 years and totally in love with the country, wrote this today on his facebook account:
“Judgement day in Brazil. Personally, I can’t wait for the most negative, divisive, destructive, racist, obnoxious and all-round false election campaigning in a so-called modern democracy I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing to finally be over. Observing the least presidential of incumbent presidents set out to whip up racial hatred, class hatred, geographic hatred and intentionally turn the population against itself has been an utterly distasteful and frankly depressing experience. That the opposition eventually sunk to her level and has spent the last 3 weeks just throwing mud back over the fence has made things worse. There are no policies, manifestos or promises in this election campaign. However, driven by the hatred whipped up by the incumbent “president”, the even more depressing observation has been to witness Brazilians treating this election like nothing more than a football match, spitting vitriol at whoever doesn’t adhere to the party they “support”, blindly, fanatically and ignorantly “supporting” their party and forgetting entirely that they are supposed to be supporting their country and making informed choices for their future! Negative news about their “team” met with blind denial and venomous abuse aimed at whatever the source, and lies about the “other team” shared, tweeted, posted and shouted from the rooftops without even a glimpse at facts or thought to understand the truths behind the headlines propagated by the party machines.
All this set against a backdrop of anger and dissatisfaction against the current government last year; demonstrations so vast they made television news around the World. Ever increasing corruption and scandals under the current administration which, if you look at what has actually happened (and not happened) over the last 4 years, clearly paints a picture of administrative and governing incompetence. Every economic indicator is now in a perilous state, without exception. Nothing is better than 4 years ago. The most important things are worse. And yet here we are, with every likelihood that Brazilians will choose more of the same for another 4 years, and a governing party’s campaign to fracture and turn it’s population against each other in a desperate strategy to keep power having every chance of succeeding as the polling stations open.
But whatever Brazilians choose today, I hope to god they learn to be Brazilian again after it’s all over. And personally, I hope to god they choose change.
Brazil, I still love you, but you have to know, I’m very, very disappointed in you.”