Dilma 48%, Serra 41%, Say Polls at Start of Second Round Race

    Serra and Rousseff kiss

    Serra and Rousseff kissDespite the glaring mistakes during the first round, Brazilians keep an eye on the public opinion polls for the second round of Brazil’s presidential elections. DataFolha just released its latest results.

    The first DataFolha public opinion poll on the presidential election after the first round of voting, shows Dilma Rousseff with 48% and José Serra with 41% of the votes.

    If only valid votes are counted, Dilma has 54% and Serra 46%. The poll interviewed 3,265 people in 201 cities and the margin of error is give or take 2 percentage points.

    Rousseff, presidential candidate of the coalition PT, PMDB, PSB, PDT, PR, PCdoB, PRB, PSC and PTC, began her campaign for the October 31 runoff in the part of the state of Rio de Janeiro known as the Baixada Fluminense where she promised to implant the project known as Pacifier Police Units (“Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora … UPP”).

    The UPPs have been used successfully in urban slums in Rio de Janeiro. The project consists of three stages: first, heavily armed police units invade areas controlled by drug lords, pushing them out; second, government control and services are reestablished in the region as the police set up permanent outposts; finally, the government effectively gets to work providing services in an area that has been pacified. 

    “We are going to make the same commitment here in the Baixada Fluminense that we made in Rio. Our objective is to improve people’s lives and security must be a central part of that effort,” declared Dilma, after driving through part of the region in a caravan.

    She also said that investments would be made in basic sanitation. “For many years the necessary investments have not been made in the Baixada. We intend to change that,” she said.

    Runoff

    Here is some information about Brazilian election voting and campaigning.

    Candidates are permitted to use sound cars up to 10 pm the day before the voting, as well as distribute printed material, participate in rallies, walkabouts and marches or car caravans.

    On the day of the voting voters (and candidates) can wear buttons, stickers or carry banners, but the campaigning must be silent.

    Elections in Brazil take place on holidays or Sundays. One of the reasons for this is that voting is mandatory. In many places the atmosphere on election day is festive and near polling places there is usually a ton of printed material scattered all over the ground. “Not dirty, democracy,” is the way the scene has been described.

    It is mandatory for all Brazilians between the ages of 18 and 70 to vote. Voting is optional for youths between 16 and 18, as well as senior citizens over 70. A citizen who does not vote is supposed to “justify” not voting by proving he was absent from his voting place. He gets a form, fills it out and delivers it to a regional electoral office in the place where he is on election day. 

    Brazilians living abroad can vote at Brazilian diplomatic offices in only a few cities around the world, but in order to do so must register beforehand and can vote only on election day.

    No alcoholic beverages can be sold on election day. So in supermarkets, part of the beverages section will be sealed off with striped yellow and black crime scene tape.

    In some parts of the country elections can turn violent as groups with longstanding disputes are pitted against each other. It is normal for all police forces, along with firemen and the traffic department personnel, to be on duty on election day.

    In some places Army troops are sent in to ensure a peaceful election. On October 3, members of the Força Nacional, who are highly trained soldiers, were sent to 253 municipalities. The main problems on election day tend to be illegal transportation of voters, buying votes and actively promoting candidates, which is prohibited. Of course, there can be conflicts between rival groups, as well.

    According to the Brazilian Electoral Code, voters and candidates cannot be arrested or detained during a certain period immediately before an election … except for cases in flagrante delicto.

    ABr

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