Socialist Worker

Inequality and poverty not up for debate in Brazilian elections

by Roger Cox
Issue No. 2222

Brazil’s presidential elections have been forced into a second round as Workers Party (PT) candidate Dilma Rousseff, selected to replace president Lula, fell 3 percent short of the 50 percent needed to win the election outright.

Rousseff’s main rival José Serra—the Social Democrat conservative candidate—took nearly 33 percent. And in a surprise turn, Green Party candidate, Marina Silva, who had quit as Lula’s environment minister, won 19 percent.

Lula, who served as president for two terms, maintained popularity through the introduction of social programmes like the Bolsa Familia (a basic income for poor people), which has helped lift millions out of poverty.

But for many, poverty and inequality remains—Brazil is the tenth most unequal country in the world—and will worsen when the recession, so far kept largely at bay, finally hits Brazil.

Henrique, an activist in the Party of Socialism and Freedom (PSOL) told Socialist Worker, “Election discussions were safe and uncontroversial.

“This gave room for the Greens to make gains—but they are not a left wing party.

“There was no discussion about redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor.

“The rich have done very well under the PT government while many remain poor—this is fuelling growing discontent.”

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Tue 5 Oct 2010, 17:44 BST
Issue No. 2222
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