PT leader streaks ahead
The leader of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Labour Party), Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, is set to fight the second round of the Presidential elections in Brazil on October 6th. The only question open is with whom.
Having increased his lead at the head of the voting intentions poll from 34 to 35%, Lula has gained the support of political heavyweights in Brazil, including ex-President Jose Sarney, himself a man connected with the centre-right and including the traditionally right-wing Liberal Party, now led by Bishop Edir Macedo of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD).
Mellowed and electable, Lula presents himself as the candidate who champions the causes of the silent majority in Brazil, the 40 million living below the poverty line and the lower middle class, who struggle from one month to the next, while the super-rich clique of 5% who own 95% of the country’s vast resources harbour opportunities and close ranks, making Brazil one of the most politically unjust countries in Latin America, if not the world.
Who goes into the second round is now the question, after second-placed Ciro Gomes of the Frente Trabalhista (Workers’ Front) sees his backing fall from 27% to 21%, slightly ahead of the newly-invigorated Jose Serra, the “official” candidate, backed by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PSDB, Social Democrats) whose electorate has risen from 11% to 17%. With twice the TV coverage of the other candidates (Anthony Garotinho is fourth with 11%), Serra fires shots in all directions, benefiting from the institutional support of his President yet at the same time attacking the Cardoso years as being inept and talking of “change”.
Serra bites the hand that feeds him but change is what Brazil needs if the people are to take the reigns of their destiny into their own hands and wrest the decision-making process from the undemocratic and oligarchic tendencies stubbornly followed by the ruling class. It remains to be seen whether Lula’s new electability will see him also losing his power base as he polishes his image, making him more attractive to the institution but moving away from his political history.
The 40% of undecided voters will decide on election day.
Marcia MIRANDA PRAVDA.Ru BRAZIL
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969