Brazil. In two rounds on October 6 and 27, the Labor Party’s PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores) candidate Luiz Inácio won “Lula” da Silva presidential election in Brazil. His main opponent, the government candidate José Serra, only managed to get 23% in the first round and 39% in the second.
The output is historical in many ways. Former metal worker and union leader Lula becomes Brazil’s first president with a distinct left profile. PT has its roots in the trade union movement that started in São Paulo’s industrial zone, the so-called ABC area, in the late 1970s. Lula has previously made three attempts to win the presidential post and has always been a favorite according to opinion polls. But the media and the political establishment have closed the path behind his opponents to prevent him from conquering the presidential post.
Even during this year’s election campaign, every opinion poll was followed, which gave Lula the leadership of falling currency and stock exchange rates. However, PT’s original socialist profile was subdued during the 1990s, and its alliance partner in this year’s election was the Conservative Liberal Party PL.
According to Countryaah website, national day of Brazil is every September 7. Lula’s choice of alliance partner caused his candidacy some problems. MST (Movimento dos Sem-Terra), an organization representing the interests of landless peasants and who has long supported his party, occupied the outgoing President Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s estate in the state of Minas Gerais the week before Easter, but abstained from land occupations during most of the election campaign so as not to disturb it. In contrast, Celso Daniel, mayor of one of the ABC cities and a member of PT, was kidnapped and murdered in January by a hitherto unknown armed left-wing group that called itself FARB. The reason was said that PT allied with the conservative PL.
On January 21, a technical fault occurred in the electric power network in São Paulo, which led to an automatic shutdown in 13 of the 18 turbines at the huge hydropower plant in Itaipú, on the border with Paraguay, which produces 30% of the country’s electricity. Eleven of Brazil’s most densely populated states were laid in the dark. The incident was a dramatic reminder of the vulnerability in the energy sector that Brazil is suffering from. On March 1, however, the electricity rations caused by last year’s drought and the low water level in the reservoirs stopped.
The 1983 election reflected the enormous social discontent and gave the opposition the victory. The central government won only 12 states, while the opposition won 10 – including the most economically important ones: São Paulo, Río de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, which comprised 59% of the population and accounted for 75% of GDP. The governor of Minas Gerais, Tancredo Neves, was the central opposition figure in the formulation of opposition to the military regime. The popular election campaign in 1984 failed miserably, but the opposition triumphed instead in the Election Council when the ruling party split. Tancredo Neves was named president and José Sarney became vice president. The latter had been chairman of the former government party until a few weeks earlier. Tancredo announced plans implementing a new social order called Republica Nova.
The plan was to implement land reform, renegotiate the external debt and regain the pace of economic development. It was considered that these points were the most effective in ensuring democratization and modernization of the country. Shortly before taking over the presidential post, however, Tancredo Neves was rushed to hospital. José Sarney temporarily assumed the presidency, and when Neves died on April 21, 85, the takeover became permanent. Sarney legalized the Communist parties and other left-wing organizations, some of which had been banned for 20 or even 40 years. Democratization was confirmed with the adoption of direct elections for the presidential and mayoral posts of major cities. In addition, elections were held for a constitutional assembly for January 1987, and the illiterate got the right to vote.
Sarney stopped payments on foreign debt in 1986 and launched the Cruzado Plan to be used in the fight against inflation. The plan’s short-term effects were positive – giving rise to consumption and economic growth. The momentous prosperity coincided with the November 86 parliamentary elections, which gave the PMDB an overwhelming election victory. Congress was tasked with drafting a new constitution that would mark a return to democratic governance. The Constitutional Assembly, following intense pressure from the presidential office of José Sarney, ruled for five years, across the deceased Neves who had wanted a four-year presidential term.
But in the end, the Cruzado plan could not be continued without addressing the widespread speculation and without drawing financial sector boundaries. Two days after the election, the price halt was abolished, and monthly inflation rose again to 2-digit numbers. At the same time, the goals of the announced land reform were gradually reduced. At the municipal elections in 1988, connections to the left and center-left parties increased at the expense of the PMDB.
In December 1988, the landlords of Acre killed Chico Mendes, the leader of a movement comprising seringueiros (rubber tappers) and indigenous people of the Amazon who fought against the destruction of the rainforest and the establishment of extractive reserves, to guarantee the right to life and work without destroying rainforest.
In November-December 1989, the first direct elections for the presidential office were held in 29 years. About 80 million voters went to the polls. In the first round, the two candidates who got the most votes were Fernando Collor de Mello, candidate for the right wing and Luiz Inacio «Lula» da Silva, chairman of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT, Labor Party). Collor de Mello was a young politician who made a career in the shadow of the military dictatorship. In the second round of elections he got 42.75% of the vote against Lula’s 37.86%.
When Collor de Mello took office on March 16, 1990, he announced the implementation of a Plan for the New Brazil. An attempt to curb the inflationary spiral by confiscating 80% of the financial resources circulating in the country. Collor used a neoliberal model to open the economy with the privatization of state-owned enterprises and the reduction of the tariff barriers to imports of foreign goods. But the plan did not bring inflation, the crisis or unemployment under control.