Friday, 10 September 2010

Brazil: Election campaign momentum

José Serra's campaign is not doing well. He is trying to do in 40 days what PSDB failed to do in eight years of Lula's tenure. Serra's original assumption was that, given Lula's tremendous and unshakeable popularity, he should not criticise the president's performancebut focus on Dilma Rousseff.

Since Lula has adroitly managed to convince most of the electorate that Rousseff's tenure as president would be a mere formality, and a continuation of his own – and indeed that he would remain as president in all but name – it follows that Serra should attack Lula himself.

However, in the states the parties in Serra's coalition (PSDB-DEM-PPS) are blithely ignoring him. Tradition and ethics demand that the candidates for governor, senator, federal, and state deputy positions advertise the presidential contender in addition to themselves, but this is not happening. By contrast, Rousseff's campaign is blessed by Lula's appearance every time.

As the campaign unfolds, Rousseff has acquired self-assurance in live TV interviews, where she tries to underline both continuity with Lula's government and her own capacity for governing Brazil. Serra had been using the argument of his record of experience, but Rousseff is asserting her own experience.

For more news and expert analysis about Brazil, please see Brazil Focus.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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