INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Results of Second Round of Brazil's Municipal

Published: Mon 1 Nov 2004 03:11 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 002742
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SOCI BR
SUBJECT: RESULTS OF SECOND ROUND OF BRAZIL'S MUNICIPAL
ELECTIONS -- SERRA WINS SAO PAULO AS EXPECTED
REF: A. BRASILIA 2506
B. RIO DE JANEIRO 1453
C. SAO PAULO 1527
D. SAO PAULO 1483
E. SAO PAULO 1472
1. SUMMARY. Brazil's 2004 election cycle has come to an end.
With second-round runoffs in 43 cities on October 31,
Brazilians have elected mayors and city councils in all 5,562
municipalities nationwide. The most closely-watched races
went as expected: Jose Serra (PSDB) defeated incumbent Marta
Suplicy (PT) in Sao Paulo; while Jose Fogaca (PPS) upended
the PT machine in Porto Alegre. Elsewhere, a broad coalition
crushed the PFL machine in Salvador; and PT a leftist
completed her unlikely path to city hall in Fortaleza.
Overall these elections continue the trend that began in the
mid-1990s and accelerated with the 2002 national elections:
the emergence of Lula's PT and the PSDB of former-President
Cardoso as the two strongest national parties, with the PMDB
and PFL trying to hold their ground. These were local
elections, with coalitions often contrary to those at the
national level, and with local issues and personalities on
display. As such, they offer uncertain predictions, at best,
for the 2006 national elections and beyond. Yet it seems
likely that the PT and PSDB will continue to be the primary
wellsprings for national-level politics in the coming years,
while other parties large and small will continue to wield
significant regional influence. END SUMMARY.
2004 ELECTIONS TURN OUT WELL FOR PT AND PSDB
--------------------------------------------
2. The second-round runoffs in Brazil's municipal elections
were held on October 31. Of Brazil's 5,562 municipalities,
only those with populations greater than 200,000 are eligible
for runoffs (smaller towns use plurality voting). Thus 43
elections were held this week in state capitals and other key
cities. In Sao Paulo, Jose Serra (PSDB -Brazilian Social
Democratic Party), who lost to Lula in the 2002 presidential
race, defeated incumbent Marta Suplicy (PT -Workers' Party).
In Porto Alegre, Jose Fogaca (PPS -Popular Socialist Party)
defeated PT leftist Raul Pont, ending the PT's sixteen-year
run in city hall (see Sao Paulo septel for details on the
southern states). In Salvador, the PFL (Liberal Front Party)
machine of Antonio Carlos Magalhaes suffered a crushing
defeat as its candidate, Senator Cesar Borges, was thrashed
by the PDT's (Democratic Labor Party) Joao Henrique, who led
a broad oppositionist coalition. In Fortaleza, PT leftist
Luizianne Lins defeated PFL conservative Moroni Torgan.
Lins' victory was improbable because the PT national party
supported another candidate in the first round. And in
Manaus, Serafim Correa (PSB) upset old-style politico
Amazonino Mendes (PFL).
3. The overall national trend of this election cycle was the
continued emergence of President Lula's PT and the opposition
PSDB as the strongest parties nationwide, followed by the two
other traditional powerhouses: the centrist PMDB (Party of
the Brazilian Democratic Movement) and the conservative PFL.
These four are the only parties to win over 10 million votes
nationwide. But in certain areas and depending on local
circumstances, personalities, and coalitions, the smaller
parties --such as the PPS and the communist PCdoB-- also did
well. At the national level, the PMDB is a member of the
PT's governing coalition, while the PSDB and PFL form the
bulk of the opposition.
RESULTS IN THE STATE CAPITALS
-----------------------------
4. Fifteen of Brazil's 26 state capitals held runoff
elections on October 31. These are key races by definition
because the mayor of the capital generally has influence
second only to the state governor in terms of party
consolidation, pork distribution, and policy implementation.
Results of the state capital races are as follows:
SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST:
- Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo: Jose Serra (PSDB) defeated incumbent
Marta Suplicy (PT), 55-45%, in the nation's highest-profile
race.
- Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul: Jose Fogaca (PPS) led a
broad coalition in defeating Raul Pont (PT), 53-47%. The PT
had held city hall for sixteen years.
- Curitiba, Parana: Beto Richa (PSDB) defeated Angelo Vanhoni
(PT), 55-45%.
- Florianopolis, Santa Catarina: Dario Berger (PSDB) defeated
Chico Assis (PP), 58-42%.
- Vitoria, Espirito Santo: Joao Coser (PT) crushed Cesar
Colnago (PSDB), 58-42%.
NORTHEAST:
- Salvador, Bahia: State Deputy Joao Henrique (PDT) led a
broad coalition in knocking off the PFL machine's candidate,
Senator Cesar Borges, 75-25%. The magnitude of this loss
suggests it may be the beginning of the end for PFL strongman
Antonio Carlos Magalhaes, who continues to hold many city
halls in the interior.
- Fortaleza, Ceara: PT leftist Luizianne Lins got
second-round support from the PT national party and the local
PSDB machine to defeat Moroni Torgan (PFL), 56-44%. The PT
national party did not support Lins' longshot candidacy in
the first round.
- Natal, Rio Grande do Norte: Incumbent Carlos Eduardo (PSB)
barely held off Luiz Almir (PSDB), 52-48%.
- Maceio, Alagoas: Cicero Almeida (PDT) defeated Alberto
Sexta-Feira (PSB), 57-43%.
- Teresina, Piaui: Silvio Mendes (PSDB) defeated Adalgisa
Moraes Souza (PMDB), wife of Lula-baiting Senator Mao Santa
(PMDB), 58-42%.
NORTH AND CENTER-WEST:
- Manaus, Amazonas: The PSB's Serafim Correa scored a
stunning upset over Amazonino Mendes (PFL), a dinosaur who
had served two terms each as mayor and governor, 52-48%.
Mendes ran 15 points ahead of Correa in the first round.
- Goiania, Goias: Another old-style politico, Iris Rezende
(PMDB), knocked off PT incumbent Pedro Wilson in the state
that surrounds Brasilia, 57-43%.
- Porto Velho, Rondonia: City Council President Roberto
Sobrinho (PT) defeated Dr. Mauro Nazif (PSB), 54-46%.
- Cuiaba, Mato Grosso: In the city's first-ever runoff,
Wilson Santos (PSDB) defeated Alexandre Cesar (PT), 53-47%.
- Belem, Para: Senator Duciomar Costa (PTB) defeated Senator
Ana Julia Carepa (PT), 58-42%.
RESULTS IN OTHER KEY CITIES
---------------------------
5. Some key races that were not capital cities:
- Contagem, Minas Gerais: PT challenger Marilia Campos
knocked off PSDB Ademir Lucas, 60-40%. Coupled with the PT's
first-round win in state capital Belo Horizonte, this sets up
Minas Gerais along with Sao Paulo as future PSDB/PT
battlegrounds.
- Campos, Rio de Janeiro. A tumultuous campaign in the
hometown of presidential pretender Anthony Garotinho (ref B)
saw dirty tricks and 500 army troops keeping the peace on
election day. Garotinho's PMDB candidate, Geraldo Pudim, was
defeated, 55-45%, by Carlos Campista (PDT) who allied an
array of anti-Garotinho forces.
- Nova Iguacu, Rio de Janeiro: PT upstart Lindberg Farias
has established a PT foothold in a state where the party is
weak by knocking off PMDB incumbent (and Garotinho machine
candidate) Mario Marques, 58-42%.
PARTY READOUT
-------------
6. These were local elections, so their prophetic value for
the 2006 presidential and gubernatorial races is limited.
But in broad strokes they tend to confirm the widely-held
assumption that heading into the 2006 elections Lula's PT,
allied with an assortment of mostly left-of-center parties,
will face the PSDB-led opposition bloc, both in the
presidential race and the Sao Paulo gubernatorial race. In
terms of the dynamics of the big four parties:
- the PT won 16.3 million votes nationwide in this cycle and
is still a big-city labor-based party that is expanding in
many interior areas and is the fastest-growing party overall.
Nationwide it elected 174 mayors in 2000 and 412 this year.
The loss of Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre is a deep
disappointment to party leaders.
- the PSDB of former-President Cardoso is in opposition to
the PT. It won 15.7 million votes nationwide and has
powerful state-based machines in a broad arc from Sao Paulo
and Minas through Tocantins to Piaui and Ceara in the
northeast. Nationwide it elected 987 mayors in 2000 and 871
this year.
- the PMDB won 14.2 million votes nationwide but does not
fare well in big cities and has no national stars. It has
dominant machines in the three southern states, has
Garotinho's wounded machine in Rio, and has traditional
"coronels" in the northeast. The party is in Lula's
coalition at the federal level, but will ally with any party
at the local level. Nationwide it elected 1,253 mayors in
2000 and 1,057 this year.
- the PFL is a conservative party that polled 11.3 million
votes nationwide. It is more in the way of an alliance of
"coronels" (some say dinosaurs) in a number of distinct
strongholds. It polls well in the northeast, and has
redoubts in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Santa Catarina.
Antonio Carlos Magalhaes' machine still has a hammerlock on
the interior of Bahia but was soundly whipped by a
left-of-center coalition in the state capital, Salvador.
Nationwide the PFL won 1,027 mayors in 2000 and 790 this year.
COMMENT - FEW SUPRISES
----------------------
7. The second round runoffs went mostly as expected. The
PT's losses in Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre were predicted by
the polls for several weeks. The two real surprises were the
magnitude of the defeat suffered by the Magalhaes' PFL
candidate in Salvador (75-25%), and the upset victory of
Serafim Correa in Manaus over another old-timer, Amazonino
Mendes. Both results point to a subtext that was commented
on in the 2002 elections and continued this month: many of
the old machines and dinosaurs are showing weakness. This
trend is far from consolidated, and new coronels (such as
Garotinho) are always eager to replace the old. One
columnist sees this trend as a healthy strengthening of
Brazil's two-decade old democracy, with voters increasingly
looking for competence and integrity instead of voting at the
instructions of the local machine. If this trend continues,
it will be good news for all Brazilians.
DANILOVICH
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