It’s election time in Brazil and it is politics as usual,
Brazilian-style, gravitating around the same old big-name honchos. There is the habitual
lack of party loyalty and alliances and coalitions are based in personal interests rather
than national ones. In Brazil, politics are often focused on personalities rather than
policies, but the populace seems to believe that time and continuity are key to the
consolidation of the economic reforms implemented by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso
during his first term.
By Marta Alvim
On October 4, some 100 million Brazilians (out of 106,076,088 voters) will be going to
the polls to cast their ballot for Brazil’s next President, senators, House
representatives, assemblymen and state governors. The novelty in this year’s election is
that a constitutional amendment passed by the Congress in 1997 has allowed the President
and state governors to seek reelection after their first four-year term, which had
previously been barred by the constitution.
Apart from those amendments, the pre-election season is politics as usual,
Brazilian-style, based around the same old caciques (literally, Indian chiefs;
figuratively, political bosses), lack of party loyalty and with numerous alliances and
coalitions stemming from regional and personal interests rather than national ones.
The lack of new political leadership becomes evident to most people upon looking at the
list of candidates for state governors: Paulo Maluf (São Paulo), Miguel Arraes
(Pernambuco), Amazonino Mendes (Amazonas), Itamar Franco (Minas Gerais), just to name a
few. They all have been in politics for decades.
The same lack of leadership is evident in the presidential candidates, with the
exception of PPS’ (Partido Popular SocialistaPeople’s Socialist Party) Ciro Gomes,
formerly affiliated to the government party PSDB (Partido da Social Democracia
BrasileiraBrazilian Social Democracy Party). Although without any real chance of
winning the race, Gomes is what analysts call a "charismatic leader", who
occasionally turns up in the political scene. While some new candidates manage to
consolidate their leadership as Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva did in the 1980s, others come
and go, like Fernando Collor de Mello who won the 1989 elections under the banner of the
obscure National Reconstruction Party (PRN), and was later impeached.
On the other hand, more than 40% of a total of 513 House representatives have changed
parties since 1995. The party switching is not limited to the House of Representatives,
though. Very few Brazilian politicians have remained loyal to their original parties, but
even those who have done so cannot survive in Brazil’s political arena without party
associations, which vary according to convenience and circumstances.
Lula, presidential candidate of the PT (Partido dos TrabalhadoresWorkers’ Party),
is a case in point. His alliance with PDT’s (Democratic Labor Party) Leonel Brizola
(Lula’s running mate in next month’s election) would have been unthinkable just a few
years ago. The bitter verbal exchanges between the former political adversaries were
infamous all over the country, when they were rivals for the presidency in 1989.
"Governor Brizola would step on his mother’s neck to become President", said
Lula, back in 1985. Four years later, Brizola counterattacked with one of his many
sarcastic comments about Lula: "Politics is the art of engolir sapos
(literally, to eat frogs; figuratively, to swallow an insult). Wouldn’t it be fascinating
to make the Brazilian elite swallow Lula, the bearded frog?"
President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (FHC) himself was entangled in a web of alliances
and party coalitions even before the reelection amendment was passed. In order to secure
the 308 votes needed to amend the constitution, Cardoso had to muster all his charm and
political sagacity by striking a series of compromises with different interest groups.
Unfazed by the all too familiar political bargaining that keeps the wheels of Congress
in motion, a majority of Brazilians have nonetheless embraced the reelection project. In
Brazil, politics are often focused on personalities rather than policies, but the populace
seems to believe that time and continuity are key to the consolidation of the economic
reforms implemented by Cardoso during his first term.
As of August 11, Brazil’s major polling institutes indicate that the incumbent
President is leading the polls by a wide margin. According to a survey conducted by the
Vox Populi institute for the media conglomerate Diários Associados between August 9 and
11, FHC would win with 44% of the votes if the election were to take place during that
period. That represents approximately 44 million votes, and it means that Cardoso may
repeat his winning performance of the 1994 election, when he also received 44% of the
total votes in the first round. Moreover, 68% of the voters polledeven those who
would not vote for FHCbelieve that he will be reelected.
These last numbers also show that Cardoso is up three percentage points relative to the
polls conducted between July 19 and 21, which confirms that the President has in fact
rebounded from his poor performance in the May and June polls. At that time, Cardoso’s
popularity declined to the worst levels since the beginning of his administration.
The perception among Brazilians was that the government seemed unable to deal with some
pressing issues, such as the Northeast drought and the nationwide strike that was led by
Brazilian university professors. To make matters worst, the President called those who had
retired before the age of fifty "bums", and thus managed to insult roughly 50
million people legally retired under the present legislation. The well-publicized
"bums" attack was so damaging to Cardoso that he was forced to go on national
television and make a veiled retraction.
In the meantime, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, FHC’s closest adversary, has won 23% of
the voters according to the Vox Populi institute. Within the survey’s margin of error of
plus or minus 4%, Lula has dropped one percentage point in the polls since July. His best
performance was registered in June, when he had 30% of the electorate’s preference, and
was then technically tied with FHC.
Lula’s inability to reverse the electorate’s rejection of his third presidential bid
can be partially attributed to Brazilians’ ingrained perception that the left-wing
candidate advocates a radical new order calling for greater state intervention on all
levels of society. PT’s critics argue that the Workers’ Party has become hostage of its
old nationalistic rhetoric based on 1950s’ concepts. A recent public statement by Leonel
Brizola, vowing to reverse all the privatization deals enacted thus far added to the
stridence of that criticism. Brizola’s unfortunate remark forced Lula to go to the media
and to diplomatically contradict his running mate.
It is still possible that the opposition’s performance in the polls may improve with
the beginning of the campaign broadcast on national radio and TV. However, even in the
event of a run-off election (scheduled for October 25) FHC would still defeat Lula by 53%
to 32% according to the analysts.
Surveys conducted by IBOPE and by Datafolha also confirm FHC’s leadership in the polls
and Lula’s decline in the voters’ preference. Candidates Ciro Gomes and Enéas Carneiro
remain in third and fourth place respectively.
Since August 18, Brazilian TV and radio stations have started daily broadcasts of the
mandatory election programs and its parade of self-promoting candidates trying to sell
themselves to the electorate. The broadcasts, which air at pre-determined times in the
morning, afternoon and in the evening, will continue until October 1, three days before
From 1976 to 1982, the participation of candidates in this type of program was greatly
restricted by the so-called Lei Falcão (Falcão Law), which determined what could and
could not be shown in the broadcasts. Basically, the candidates were limited to showing a
stationary picture on the screen, while a background narrator’s voice read the candidates’
résumés. Since the reversal of Lei Falcão, electoral programs have become increasingly
more inventive and more expensive.
The present electoral legislation regulates TV and radio campaign broadcasts by
distributing of airtime to each party as follows: one third of all available air time is
divided evenly among the parties, while two thirds is divided up according to each party’s
number of House representatives at the time the legislation was implemented. Therefore,
the larger the party coalition (which is not prohibited by law), the longer the airtime.
Cardoso’s PSDB alliance with PFL (Liberal Front Party) and PMDB (Brazilian Democratic
Movement Party)the two parties with most seats in the House of
Representativeshas given the coalition’s candidates over 20 minutes of air time,
twice as much the PT/PDT coalition time. FHC alone had 11 minutes for himself in his first
Whereas the President spent most of his air time talking to an interviewer talk-show
style and reflecting on the achievements of his administrations, Lula focused on
"chatting" with the viewers and appealing to their emotions. He talked about his
dreams for Brazila country with no hunger and zero illiteracyand he launched
the theme of the color white as the symbolic color of his campaign, a surprising departure
from the traditional red used by the Workers’ Party.
Ciro Gomes, alleging that the Real plan has lost its original purpose, was unaffected
and articulate; an angry Enéas Carneiro, of PRONA (Party for the National Order
Re-edification) amused the viewers with promises of manufacturing an atomic bomb. The
other Presidential candidates, also with very limited airtime, tried to appeal to the
voters in the best way they could. Here are some of their slogans: "I’m
catholic" (Eymael, of PSDC – Christian Social-Democratic Party); "Vote
different" (Sirkis, of PV – Green Party); "Jobs, salaries and land"
(Almeida, of PSTU – Socialist Party of the Unified Workers); "Brazilian women, join
forces with the only Presidential female candidate" (Ruiz, of PTN – National Labor
Party); "I represent the resurgence of Vargas’ labor movement" (Jesus, of PT do
B – Brazilian Labor Party).
The greatest surprise, though, was Fernando Collor de Mello’s unexpected appearance on
the radio and TV broadcasts. The former President, whose political rights are suspended
until 2002, had sought to register his candidacy anyway. Although TSE has rejected
Collor’s registration petition, the resolution would only become effective after its
publication in the Diário Oficial da Justiça (the daily newspaper that publishes
all official resolutions by the government’s judiciary branch). That only happened the day
after the electoral broadcasts started, and Collor immediately took advantage of TSE’s
delay. (The electoral legislation guarantees airtime to all political parties, as long as
their registration hasn’t been denied by TSE.)
In tune with the times, the masterminds behind Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s campaign
have also designed a telemarketing system which will inform voters through a toll-free
phone number ( 0800 780045) of the President’s accomplishments during his first term
(press 6) and of his plans for the second term (press 7). By pressing 2, voters will get
instructions on how to vote; pressing 3, voters will have information on all the coalition
parties supporting FHC; and pressing either 4 or 5, they will get to hear a recorded
message from Cardoso himself. To talk to one of the 104 operators hired to work the
system, press 8. These operators end calls by saying: "Fernando Henrique thanks you
for your participation."
Brazil’s electoral legislation does not set a limit as to how much each party can
spend on the election campaign, but it regulates the amount of donations received.
According to TSE, corporations can donate up to 2% of their revenues, while an individual
can donate up to 10% of his gross income as filed in the previous year’s income tax.
Candidates themselves are also allowed to donate their own money to the campaign fund as
long as it doesn’t exceed the amount registered with TSE.
Another provision of the law requires that candidates open a specific bank account for
campaign transactions only. Candidates are also required to render account of all
transactions with TSE. Any remaining balance at the end of the campaign cannot be used by
the candidates, and shall be donated to the parties’ foundations or institutes in charge
of political indoctrination or education.
In 1994, corporate donations to then candidate Cardoso totaled $27.4 million, which
represented 97% of all donations to FHC’s campaign. Lula received $2.2 million from
corporations, while another $1.4 million were raised among PT’s affiliates.
The exact amount to be spent by each presidential candidate is not known; their
campaign budget might be in fact ten times the amount disclosed so far. FHC leads the list
with campaign expenditures estimated in $62.2 million, followed by Ciro Gomes with $28.1
million. It is estimated that Lula and Enéas Carneiro each plan to spend around $12.8
million. José Maria de Almeida has the lowest budgetonly $170 thousand, followed by
João de Deus de Jesus with an estimated budget of $426 thousand. Ivan Frota and Teresa
Ruiz have not disclosed their campaign budgets, and all other candidates will be spending
between $1.3 and $1.7 million.
According to a preliminary study conducted by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), the
number of Brazilian voters has increased by a surprising 4.73% nationwide since
1996on average, the electorate increased by 2.5% every two years. The study also
shows that the Brazilian electorate is aging. While voters over the age of 69 increased by
15.71%, the demand for voter registration from 16 and 17 year olds (for whom voting is
optional) has dropped by an average of 21.78%. The greatest increase has occurred among
voters in the 35-59 year old age bracket, who collectively applied for 2,996,292 new voter
The number of women voters is also on the rise, and they already represent a majority
of voters in 10 states. Overall, male voters still lead the Brazilian electorate,
representing 49.97% of all voters, but women are closing the gap: they now account for
47.79% of Brazil’s electorate. Since 1994, TSE has issued 500 thousand new voter IDs for
There was also an increase in the number of Brazilian expatriates who have registered
to vote abroad. They number 47,392 voters this year against 39,760 in 1994. Brazilian
voters are spread out among 95 countries, but the largest electorate11,377is
located in the United States. Italy comes in second with 4,106 registered Brazilian
voters, followed by Portugal with 3,621.
As for the educational profile of the electorate, TSE’s study shows that only 3.28% of
voters have a university degree. The Federal District has the highest proportion of
college graduates among its voters7.2%while the state of Maranhão has the
lowest0.78%. Considering the large overall increase of the electorate, the number of
illiterate voters has also decreased by nearly 100 thousand. Maranhão, which has
1,987,241 voters, is still the state with the largest percentage of illiterate
Conversely, the increase in the number of registered voters is in direct contrast to a
decreased interest in politics, which was expressed by Brazilian voters in a study
conducted by the Institute of University Research of Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ). This
institute has been gathering data on voter participation in all elections that have taken
place in Brazil since 1982.
Published in December 1997, IUPERJ’s study confirms some suspicions and dispels some
myths. For example, the myth that voters from the south and southeast regions are more
politically conscious, and therefore less likely to invalidate their votes, is shown to be
untrue in this study. According to IUPERJ, Roraima and Amapá are the Brazilian states
with the lowest number of null and blank votes in previous elections.
Just to give an idea, in 1994, 87.8% of votes cast in Amapá and Roraima for state
governor were valid, compared to 79.7% of votes in Rio de Janeiro, 76.2% in São Paulo,
and 81% in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. That same year, 9 out of 10 voters from Amapá
and Roraima validated their votes for President against 8 out of 10 in Rio and São Paulo.
On the other hand, Bahia and Alagoas registered the highest percentage of invalid votes
among all Brazilian states.
However, political analysts believe that Amapá’s and Roraima’s voters are motivated
mostly by personal interest rather than by civic pride. According to the analysts, the
election period is the only time when voters have a chance to obtain concrete favors from
the politicians in exchange for their votes.
Asked about Brazil’s major problems, two thousand voters surveyed by polling institute
IBOPE between August 14 and 18 pointed out health issues as their main concern (39%),
while other major concerns included unemployment (37%), and hunger and poverty (21%).
Crime and violence came in fourth place with 20% of the answers, followed by education
with 14%, drugs with 12%, and salaries with 11%.
1 President and Vice-President, elected for a four-year term.
513 deputados federais (House representatives), elected for a four-year term by
1,045 deputados estaduais (assemblymen), elected for a four-year term.
27 senadores (senators), elected for a eight-year term, with elections every
27 state governadores (governors), elected for a four-year term.
Fernando Henrique CardosoSociologist and college professor, President
Cardoso was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1931. At the age of 30, he received his Ph.D. in
Social Sciences from the University of São Paulo, and became well known in the academic
community for his theories about the dependence of Latin America on international
capitalism. After the military coup in 1964, Cardoso voluntarily sought exile in Chile,
and later on in France, and didn’t return to Brazil until 1968. Cardoso entered the
Brazilian Senate in 1983. Two years later, he ran for mayor of São Paulo, but was
unsuccessful on his election bid. In 1986, he became a senator again. After a stint as
President Itamar Franco’s Foreign Minister, Cardoso was appointed Franco’s Finance
Minister; he was elected President in 1994, anchored by the success of the Real plan.
Party: PSDB (Partido da Social Democracia BrasileiraBrazilian Social Democracy
Party). Married to Ruth; three children. Leading the polls.
Web site: http://www.fernandohenrique98.org.br
Luiz Inácio Lula da SilvaBorn in Garanhuns (state of Pernambuco) in 1946,
this former metalworker is a third-time candidate to the presidency of Brazil. The son of
a peasant, Lula has lived in São Paulo since his early childhood. Lula gained national
fame in 1978, after leading a metalworkers strike in defiance to the military
dictatorship. In 1982, he came in fourth place in São Paulo’s governor election, and in
1986 he was elected to the House of Representatives. His first attempt to become President
was in 1989, when he was defeated by Fernando Collor de Mello in the run-off election.
Four years later, Lula was again defeated, losing to President Cardoso in the first round.
Party: PT (Partido dos TrabalhadoresWorkers’ Party). Married to Marisa, his third
wife; four children (three sons by Marisa and a daughter from his second marriage). Second
in the polls.
Web site: http://www.lula.com.br
Ciro GomesThe youngest of all presidential candidates, Gomes was born in
Pindamonhangaba (state of São Paulo) in 1957. With a degree from Ceará Federal
University’s Law School, Gomes entered politics while still a student. Twice elected to
the House of Representatives (1983 and 1987), he became mayor of Fortaleza (Ceará state
capital) in 1989, and Ceará’s governor in 1991. After Minister Rubens Ricupero’s
resignation, Gomes was appointed Finance Minister by President Itamar Franco. Party: PPS
(Partido Popular SocialistaPeople’s Socialist Party). Married to Patrícia; three
children. Third in the polls.
Web site: http://www.cirogomes.com.br
Enéas CarneiroCardiologist, 60, Carneiro was born in the state of Acre,
but it wasn’t until the age of nine that his birth was registered in Belém (state of
Pará), which became his official birthplace. A self-proclaimed nationalist, Carneiro is
running for President for the third time. In the 1989 presidential election, Carneiro
received over 300 thousand votes in spite of his limited airtime (15 seconds) on TV. Four
years later, he came in a surprising third place with nearly 5 million votes. Party: PRONA
(Partido de Reedificação da Ordem Nacional Party for the National Order
Re-edification). Married twice; divorced. Fourth in the polls
Web site: http://www.eneas.com.br
Alfredo SirkisCarioca (Rio’s native), born in 1951, Sirkis was an
active member of the student movement which opposed the military dictatorship. Exiled in
France in 1971, Sirkis was twice-elected councilman upon his return to Brazil. He was the
author of the project that created the Municipal Environment Secretariat. Party: PV
(Partido VerdeGreen Party). Ranking in the polls unknown.
Ivan Moacyr FrotaRetired brigadier Ivan Frota, 67, entered politics in
1993, upon his retirement from the armed forces. Party: PMN (Partido da Mobilização
NacionalNational Mobilization Party). Ranking in the polls unknown.
João de Deus Barbosa de JesusParty: PT do B (Partido Trabalhista do
BrasilLabor Party of Brazil) Ranking in the polls unknown.
Teresa RuizParty: PTN (Partido Trabalhista NacionalNational Labor
Party). She presents herself as the only Brazilian candidate to the presidency. Ranking in
the polls unknown.
José Maria de AlmeidaBorn in the state of Minas Gerais in 1958, Almeida
is an active member of the metalworkers movement. In 1980, he was arrested, together with
Lula and 17 other metalworkers, for inciting a series of strikes in the state of São
Paulo. Almeida was also president of the metalworkers union in Belo-Horizonte and Contagem
(both in the state of Minas Gerais) and director of labor union CUT (Central Única de
TrabalhadoresWorkers’ Unified Central) in that state. Party: PSTU (Partido
Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado (Unified Workers’ Socialist Party)
José Maria EymaelBorn in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Eymael, 58, is a
former São Paulo assemblyman (1986) and house representative (1990). He has a degree in
Philosophy and another degree in Law from PUC/RS. Party: PSDC (Partido Social Democrata
CristãoChristian Social Democrat Party). Ranking in the polls unknown.
Sérgio BuenoLawyer, 50, Bueno was a former INSS (Social Security National
Institute) attorney, and is currently a private consultant. Party: PSC (Partido Social
CristãoChristian Social Party) . Ranking in the polls unknown.
Vasco de Azevedo NetoFormer House representative from 1970 to 1986, Neto
is a retired professor from Bahia Federal University’s Engineering School. Party: PSN
(Partido Solidarista NacionalNational Solidarist Party). Ranking in the polls
1 – Ciro Gomes (PPS, PL e PAN)
| Parties for|
PAN (Partido dos Aposentados da NaçãoParty of the Nation’s
PCB (Partido Comunista BrasileiroBrazilian Communist Party)
PC do B (Partido Comunista do BrasilCommunist Party of Brazil)
PCO (Partido da Causa OperáriaWorkers’ Cause Party)
PDT (Partido Democrático TrabalhistaWorkers’ Democratic Party)
PFL (Partido da Frente LiberalLiberal Front Party)
PGT (Partido Geral dos TrabalhadoresWorkers’ General Party)
PL (Partido LiberalLiberal Party)
PMDB (Partido do Movimento Democrático BrasileiroBrazilian
PMN (Partido da Mobilização NacionalNational Mobilization
PP (Partido ProgressistaProgressive Party)
PPB (Partido Progressista BrasileiroBrazilian Progressive Party)
PPR (Partido Progressista ReformadorReformer Progressive Party)
PPS (Partido Popular SocialistaPeople’s Socialist Party) former
PRN (Partido da Reconstrução NacionalNational Reconstruction
PRONA (Partido da Reedificação da Ordem Nacional Party for the
PRP (Partido Republicano ProgressistaProgressive Republican
PRTB (Partido Renovador Trabalhista BrasileiroBrazilian Labor
PSB (Partido Socialista BrasileiroBrazilian Socialist Party)
PSC (Partido Social CristãoChristian Social Party)
PSD (Partido Social DemocráticoSocial Democratic Party)
PSDB (Partido da Social Democracia BrasileiraBrazilian Social
PSDC (Partido Social Democrata CristãoChristian Social Democrat
PSL (Partido Social LiberalLiberal Social Party)
PSN (Partido Solidarista NacionalNational Solidarist Party)
PST (Partido Social TrabalhistaSocial Labor Party)
PSTU (Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores UnificadoUnified
PT (Partido dos TrabalhadoresWorkers’ Party)
PTN (Partido Trabalhista NacionalNational Labor Party)
PT do B (Partido Trabalhista do BrasilLabor Party of Brazil)
PTB (Partido Trabalhista BrasileiroBrazilian Labor Party)
PV (Partido VerdeGreen Party)
15.11.188923.11.1891……….Marshall Manoel Deodoro da Fonseca
23.11.189115.11.1894………. Marshall Floriano Vieira Peixoto
15.11.189415.11.1898………. Prudente José de Moraes e Barros (first one
elected by direct vote)
15.11.189815.11.1902………. Manoel Ferraz de Campos Salles
15.11.190215.11.1906………. Francisco de Paula Rodrigues Alves
15.11.190614.06.1909………. Affonso Augusto Moreira Pena
14.06.190915.11.1910………. Nilo Procópio Peçanha
15.11.191015.11.1914………. Marshall Hermes Rodrigues da Fonseca
15.01.191415.11.1918………. Wencesláo Braz Pereira Gomes
15.11.191828.07.1919………. Delfim Moreira da Costa Ribeiro takes over when
President Francisco de Paula Rodrigues Alves dies
28.07.191915.11.1922………. Epitácio da Silva Pessoa
15.11.192215.11.1926………. Arthur da Silva Bernardes
15.11.192624.10.1930………. Washington Luís Pereira de Sousa
24.10.193003.11 1930………. Provisional Government
03.11.193020.07.1934………. Getúlio Dornelles Vargas
20.07.193410.11.1937………. Getúlio Dornelles Vargas
10.11.193729.10.1945………. Getúlio Dornelles Vargas
29.10.194531.01.1946………. José Linhares
31.01.194631.01.1951………. General Eurico Gaspar Dutra
31.01.195124.08.1954………. Getúlio Dornelles Vargas
24.08.195409.11.1955………. João Fernandes Campos Café Filho
09.11.195531.01.1956………. Nereu de Oliveira Ramos
31.01.195631.01.1961………. Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, JK
31.01.196125.08.1961………. Jânio da Silva Quadros
07.09.196101.04.1964………. João Belchior Marques Goulart
01.04.196415.04.1964………. Pascoal Ranieri Mazzilli
15.04.196415.03.1967………. General Humberto de Alencar Castello Branco
15.03.196731.08.1969………. General Arthur da Costa e Silva
31.08.196930.10.1969………. Military Junta (Augusto Hamann Rademaker
Grünewald, Aurélio Lyra Tavares, Márcio de Souza e Melo)
30.10.196915.03.1974………. General Emílio Garrastazú Médici
15.03.197415.03.1979………. General Ernesto Geisel
15.03.197915.03.1985………. General João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo
15.03.198515.03.1990………. José Ribamar Ferreira de Araújo Costa known as
José Sarney takes over after President-elect Tancredo de Almeida Neves dies before being
15.03.199029.09.1992………. Fernando Affonso Collor de Mello
29.09.199201.01.1995………. Itamar Augusto Cautiero Franco
01.01.1995……………………….. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, FHC
In a country where apelidos (nicknames) abound, and celebrities are often known
This year, there are at least four "Ronaldinhos" registered with TSE. The
However, apelidos can be deceiving. Those dreaming of a seat for Brazil’s most
Coincidentally, "Carla Perez" and Júlio César Paes Smiderle are cousins.
Physical resemblance does not seem to be always the candidates’ main criterion when
"Faustão" has only one complaint about Faustão. On his Sunday shows, the
Other nicknames registered with TSE:
Brazilian elections are going high-tech. Fifty percent of the Brazilian electorate will
have access to a new system of electronic voting, which was first tested in the 1996
municipal elections. The compact computerized voting machines used in 1996 were designed
and built by American company Unisys, making Brazil the first nation to use this
mechanism. This year’s machines were manufactured by Procomp Indústria Eletrônica, a
Brazilian firm headquartered in São Paulo.
After the successful experience two years ago, TSE (Tribunal Superior
EleitoralSupreme Electoral Court) hoped to totally computerize the 1998 voting
procedures, but a lack of funds has limited the voting machines to 125,691 units, which
will be installed in 249 municipalities with more than 52 thousand voters each. That
represents nearly 51 million voters.
The electronic ballot greatly reduces the tabulation time and the possibility of fraud.
Voters will take approximately twenty seconds to cast their ballot instead of the average
two minutes spent on the manual voting process. Moreover, electronic voting greatly
reduces null and blank votes.
The voting machine’s numerical pad has keys similar to a telephone dial pad. It also
has three colored keys, which will confirm the ballot (green key), correct the ballot
(orange key), or give the voter the choice to abstain from voting (white key).
Powered by AC power, the machines come with an internal battery which will keep them
working for an additional hour and a half in case of power failure. If the power failure
extends over that period of time, the machines can be hooked up to any car battery, and
will work uninterruptedly the whole day.
Step by Step
1) Voter arrives at the precinct and identifies himself by presenting his título de
eleitor (voters I.D.) or a regular I.D. ( if título de eleitor has been lost
2) Precinct clerk registers the I.D. number on a micro terminal, which automatically
clears the voting machine for use.
3) Machine’s screen displays a command to vote for deputado federal
(representative), in addition to a space where voter can type the four-digit number
representing the candidate’s registration number.
4) Once the representative’s number is typed, the screen will show the number, name and
picture of the chosen candidate, plus the name of his party. Voter is then instructed to
confirm or correct his ballot by pressing either the green key or the orange key. Those
who have chosen to cast a blank vote will press the white key, leaving the four-digit
number space blank.
5) Next, the screen displays a command to vote for deputado estadual
(assemblyman), and a space where voter will type the candidate’s five-digit registration
number. Voter repeats step 4.
6) Screen displays a command to vote for presidente (president), and a space to
type the candidate’s two-digit registration number. Voter follows step 4 again.
7) The next command will instruct voter to cast his ballot for governador
(governor), and to type the candidate’s two-digit number in the space provided. Voter
repeats step 4.
8) Screen displays a command to vote for senador (senator), and a space to type
the candidate’s two-digit number. Voter follows step 4 once more. The word fim (end)
will come up on the screen, indicating that the voting process has been completed
9) Voter returns to the precinct clerk and retrieves his I.D. and proof of voting
23.309.908 voters are from São Paulo, 11.815.219 from Minas Gerais, 9.971.925 from Rio
……Municipalities ….Sites.. ..Sections …..Voters
Southeast 1.666…. 22.686…. 112.570…. 47.013.951
Northeast 1.789 ….32.836 …..95.712 …..28.538.352
South ……..1.159 ….20.901 ….55.794 …..16.747.049
Mid-West …450 ……5.182 …..21.286 …….6.988.708
North ……….449…… 7.207….. 22.122 …….6.740.636
Overseas ……95……… 213 ……….213 …………47.392
Totals……. 5.608 ….89.025 …307.697 …106.076.088
Data from TSE
All the US
phones and addresses
Brazilian expatriates may vote at the nearest consulate, providing they have previously
registered to vote at that consular office. Voters who have registered for the 1994
elections are already eligible to vote, unless they have moved to another consular
jurisdiction, in which case they should have re-registered at the new jurisdiction until
May 15, 1998. Voters who have missed the registration deadline will be ineligible to vote.
Absentee voters MUST justify their absence on Election Day by either going to a
consular office, or to the nearest Tribunal Regional Eleitoral (Regional Electoral
Court) upon returning to Brazil. If the latter applies, voters must provide proof that
they were abroad either during the first or second round of the election, or both. Either
way, they will have up to 30 days after the election takes place to justify their absence.
TSE strictly forbids Brazilians in transit to vote.
Those voting at local consulates must present their título de eleitor (voter
card) or the 1998 registration stub, plus a Brazilian I.D. Voters will be assisted on a
first come, first served basis.
For voting hours, call your local consular office:
Brazilian Consulate General in Atlanta
229 Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite 2306
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 521-0061
Fax: (404) 521-3449
Jurisdiction: States of Alabama, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and
Brazilian Consulate General in Boston
The Stattler Building
20 Park Plaza, suite 810
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 542-4000
Fax: (617) 542-4318
Jurisdiction: States of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Brazilian Consulate General in Chicago
401 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 3050
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 464-0244
Fax: (312) 464-0299
Jurisdiction: States of North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Brazilian Consulate General in Houston
1700 West Loop South, suite 1450
Houston, TX 77027
Phones: (713) 961-3063/64/65
(713) 961-0551Trade Bureau
Fax: (713) 961-3070
Jurisdiction: States of Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
Brazilian Consulate General in Los Angeles
8484 Wilshire Blvd., suites 730-711Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Phone: (323) 651-2664
Fax: (323) 651-1274
Jurisdiction: States of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, and in
California, the counties of Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San
Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
Brazilian Consulate General in Miami
2601 S. Bayshore Drive, Suite 800
Miami, FL 33133
Phone: (305) 285-6200
Fax: (305) 285-6229
Fax on demand for information and forms: (305) 285-6259
Jurisdiction: States of Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, and all U.S. Territories in the
Brazilian Consulate General in New York
551 Fifth Avenue, Suite 210
New York, NY 10176-0009
Tel: (212) 916-3200
Fax: (212) 370-3925
Jurisdiction: States of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and
the Bermuda Islands
Brazilian Consulate General in San Francisco
300 Montgomery Street, suite 900
San Francisco, CA, 94104
Phone: (415) 981-8170
Fax: (415) 981-3628
Jurisdiction: States of Oregon, Washington, Alaska and in the state of California, the
counties of Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El
Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Ladera, Marin, Mariposa,
Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San
Benedito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra,
Siskyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislau, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolunme, Yolo, and
Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
3006 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 745-2837
Fax: (202) 745-2827
Jurisdiction: District of Columbia, states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio,
Marta Alvim is a Brazilian journalist, freelance translator and interpreter.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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