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Brazil: Government, opposition and future

Article by Foreign Policy Centre

February 13, 2012

The opposition, despite having received several “gifts” from the government, such as the ministerial scandals, continues as in 2011, without speech or messages, with nothing concrete to say and deeply disorganized. In the midst of disaster, good news: the PSDB already has a candidate. Both FHC and Sergio Guerra, president of the party, announced support for Aecio Neves (MG) as a candidate for presidential succession in 2014.

From this fact, some doubts emerge, as, for example, if José Serra accepts the choice, and if Aécio will be a competitive candidate. Another doubt is if he can unite the opposition. Finally, if he really wants to be a candidate. To be a candidate with a realistic chance of victory, Aécio depends more of others than himself.

To be a strong competitor, Aécio will have to obtain the support not only of all opposition parties. He will to explore very well the split in the government coalition, attracting, for example, the PSB and/or PDT for his side.

Aecio Neves, despite the strong last name and good transit between politicians, has not yet shown skills to play the big game of the presidential race. His profile would be perfect for the 1980s, as a kind of Collor from Minas Gerais. However, Brazil today is more complex and the government is much more powerful than it used to be in the past.

The other issue relates to the second trend: the unity of the political base. Until now, after more than 15 months of Dilma’s government, is evident that the governing base is greater than the ministerial reach.

To complicate matters, there is an irresistible vocation for friendly fire. First, between the parties. Then within the parties. Moreover, no tools are available to deal with this situation. The strategy used it to procrastinate rather than establishing a “judgment” that demarcates and pacify relations.

The government relies on its economic power to satisfy everyone and to promote growth without (much) inflation.The formula is good on the one hand, for the people – that, ultimately, is who decides – is satisfied and trust the president.

On the other hand, the lack of a consistent plan of pacification of the governing coalition will charge a price in terms of efficiency, range and modernity in our public policies. Therein lies the faint hope of the opposition, and also the still uncertain and likely impact of social networks in the dispute.

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