2014 Brazilian Presidential Hopefuls - Hopeless?

By 16:54 , , , , , , , ,

As mentioned, elections in Brazil are this Sunday. Last night, I was chatting with my grandma on a video call, and she asked me who I was going to vote for for president.

So this is how the conversation went:

Vovó: "So, who do you think you're going to vote for?"

Me: "I don't know Grandma, I'm probably going to vote null, if I vote for anyone, it's going to be Luciana Genro."

Vovó: "But that woman has no religion!"

Me: "I'd rather someone with no religion than that pastor or Marina who makes political decisions based on what her religious leaders tell her."

Vovó: "Oh no, that pastor's the worst!"

And we continued the lively banter, and she mentioned she's not even voting, because she's too old, but she's trying to follow the debates anyway, and how disheartened she's always been because there has never been a candidate who really resonates with her.

In 2010, I kind of felt the same, thinking there was no one I really loved. But I felt the need to vote for someone and not be a blank voter, so I voted for Marina Silva, who's also running this year.  She ended up not making it to the second round of elections, so I voted null then.

This year, I'm still disheartened and will most likely vote null. But I mentioned Luciana Genro to my grandmother because I suppose she speaks more for me on more issues than any of the other candidates, and that's what voting is all about, right? She's very progressive, and has clear percentages of how much of the country's GDP she's going to invest in health and education (about 20%), revoking positions from corrupt politicians, pro alternative energy,  gay marriage and women's right to decide on abortion. However, in Brazilian politics, since we've had so many letdowns, it's hard to trust something that seems too good to be true. I've often joked that I would get into politics, but I don't think I'd survive (quite literally), because I'd want to be honest. It's nothing something I'd like to joke about, but unfortunately I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

For now, for those who are less informed than my vovó, here's a list of the top contenders for President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, in preferential order, according to the polls so far (please note this is grotesquely a generalization of each candidate, for space and attention issues, but it's a start if you'd like to learn more about them).

Dilma Rousseff - PT: Dilma is the candidate for the Partido dos Trabalhadores, which is known for having a strong favoritism towards unions, ending inequality, and although started as a most leftist party, has developed into a left of center party. The incumbent, has failed on many ends of her administration such as putting us into public debt, little to no advancement in education, discontinuation of infrastructural projects, corruption scandals, and a bad choice of ministers, amongst others. Despite all this, she is still the favorite. Mostly because some people are too lazy for change. Also because she has kept public programs for the underprivileged alive, which has helped many rise out of poverty, the overall success of the World Cup (because the population sees a direct influence of the presidency on this), and the favoritism towards "Lula's Party," is still strong.

Aecio Neves - PSDB: Candidate for the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira. This is the second largest party in the country, whose candidates are known for being wealthy and highly educated. They're a clear favorite of wealthier Brazilians and those who benefitted from the FHC years (president for 2 terms in the 90's, of PSDB right). They're a right of center party although they advertise themselves to being more leftist. Aecio Neves is the current governor of Minas Gerais, and is often criticized for spending most of his time in his Rio de Janeiro apartment in Ipanema and not in Minas Gerais, and has been involved in corruption, drug and domestic abuse scandals. However, his plans to improve social inclusion, public safety and healthcare have been a big draw in his campaign.

Marina Silva - PSB: Quite possibly the most controversial candidate in this election, Marina was meant to be vice presidential candidate to Eduardo Campos, who died in a plane accident a few months back. She took on the bid and since then, has skyrocketed in polls, yet she's quite controversial. She has been on quite a few different parties, making people weary that when the going gets tough, she just backs down. She's also come down a bit with her clear homophobia, strong Evangelical values which have favoured her with some, but not with others. However, she's also a different voice than that of PT + PSDB, and many people are really just looking for change. She promises change, but will she go through with it?

Other candidates who are in the main debates are Luciana Genro (PSOL), Eduardo Jorge (hysterical candidate for PV), Levy Fidelix (PRTB, very controversial right now for making homophobic comments in the last debate), and Pastor Everaldo (PSC, the social christian party).

Photos courtesy of G1.

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