Political uncertainty in Brazil ahead of 2018 polls

ANI | Updated: Dec 30, 2017 04:55 IST

Brasilia [Brazil], December 30 (ANI): Brazil has plunged in a period of political uncertainty ahead of the general elections in October 2018, with no clear candidates on sight.

This comes after former Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff was impeached last year, in order to pursue more business-friendly policies, and the designation of Vice President Michel Temer as president, Xinhua reported.

The Brazilian populace had high expectations from Temer to turn things around, but so far, hasn't. Also, at 77 years, age is not on his side. Corruption scandals and power struggles have tainted Brazil's most popular political figures, making the people more sceptical of their system of government than ever before.

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who served the country from 2003 to 2010, continues to enjoy the support of progressive Brazilians as the head of the Workers' Party (PT).

However, Silva has been convicted of accepting bribes from a construction firm, which might hurt his chances of running for re-elections if he loses the appeal. A Brazilian court is expected to rule on his appeal on January 24. Silva was convicted in July of corruption and money laundering as part of Brazil's massive graft investigation.

Political scientist Luciano Dias said that it would be likely the court will uphold his sentence.

"That means he will be pigeonholed by the Clean Record Law, meaning that he will be ineligible in Brazil to hold any public office for eight years," said Dias.

"But Lula is still going to play a leading role (in the elections) because the PT controls about 12 percent of the national vote. All leftist parties in Brazil together represent around 20 percent of votes," added Dias.

With Silva likely to be out of the political scene soon, this will lead to the coming up of new candidates, who can become the next president of Brazil.

"The main scenario is a fragmented scenario. Should Lula not be able to run, that is going to distribute the votes among many candidates. For me, the novelty would be to see him absolved, but that's less likely," said Ricardo Caldas, a professor of political science, at the University of Brasilia.

The new logical favourite for the post could be Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin. A member of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party, Alckmin is a popular figure in Brazil. He ran for the president before, but lost by a scant margin to Lula in a 2006 runoff. However, he is also facing serious charges of corruption linked to public sector contracts.

Another favourite would-be candidate after Silva could be former military officer Jair Bolsonaro, who has been dubbed as Brazil's 'Donald Trump'.

"Bolsonaro is really a surprise. He is more popular than one would expect from a candidate with his characteristics. However, it's tough to say whether he is going to maintain this level of votes when the campaign really gets underway," Dias explained.

For Caldas, the contest will pit a government-sanctioned candidate that promises to continue the social security reforms Temer is pursuing against a moderate centre-left candidate that may embrace some, though not all, of those reforms.

It is to be seen that which candidate Temer would recommend for the post of president. Political observers in Brazil time and again mentioned that there should a leader, who should be 'dynamic, clean and canny'. The leader should also save Brazil's already drowning economy with 'long-term and corruption-free economic reforms', which had been in a recession period for three years between 2013 and 2016. (ANI)