Brazilian general election, 2006

Brazilian general election, 2006

In 2006, Brazil held general elections in two rounds. The first one occurred on October 1, in which eligible voters chose the president of the country and the governors of the 26 states and of the Federal District. They also chose all members of the Chamber of Deputies and all members of the Legislative Assemblies of the 26 states and of the Federal District, as well as one third of the Federal Senate.

After no majority was secured by either presidential candidate, a second round was held on October 29 between incumbent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his challenger, Geraldo Alckmin. In addition, a run-off occurred in 10 states where no gubernatorial candidate had achieved a majority.

Lula emerged victorious from the run-off with over 60% of the votes and secured a new four-year term. [ [ "Brazil re-elects President Lula"] , "BBC", October 30, 2006] .


In the first round, presidential candidates included, in no particular order:

* Workers' Party (PT) – President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, elected in 2002 and reelected for a second term. Accompanied again by current vice president José Alencar (Brazilian Republican Party) within the coalition, "The Strength of the People" ("A Força do Povo") which also includes the Communist Party of Brazil, and was informally supported by the Liberal Party and the Brazilian Socialist Party.
* Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) – the main opposition party announced Geraldo Alckmin, the former governor of the State of São Paulo, as its candidate. Senator José Jorge (PFL) was Alckmin's running mate. The Popular Socialist Party also supported the two but did not enter into a coalition with them on a national level.
* Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL) – Heloísa Helena, senator, founded PSOL and announced her candidacy, after she was expelled from PT. Her running mate was economist César Benjamin. PSOL was part of a national coalition, the Front of the Left ("Frente de Esquerda") with the PSTU and PCB.
* Democratic Labour Party (PDT) – Registered the candidacy of senator Cristovam Buarque for president, who left PT in 2005, and his vice-president candidate was Jefferson Peres, also a senator.
* Social Liberal Party (PSL) – Businessman Luciano Bivar ran for president, having the retired judge Américo de Souza as the vice president candidate.
* Social Democratic Christian Party (PSDC): The party appointed José Maria Eymael to run for president, along with José Paulo Neto for vice president.
* Progressive Republican Party (PRP): The party appointed Ana Maria Rangel as their candidate.


Chamber of Deputies and Federal Senate

All elections are governed by the Verticalization rule, which states that the parties cannot make electoral alliances on state-level elections that differ from the alliances that they have made on the national level. This rule was introduced at the 2002 general elections by the Electoral Court.

One third of the Senate was up for election in 2006 (one senator for each of the 26 States and one for the Federal District).

tate-level Elections

Brazil is a highly centralized federation; the terms and election dates for state-level elections are determined by the Federal Constitution and are held in the same dates and years as the Federal Elections.


State-level elections in 2006 will include gubernatorial races in all States and in the Federal District. Like the presidential race, a state election is taken in two rounds if no candidates attains an absolute majority of the valid votes in the first round. The conventions of all parties took place in the first semester of 2006 and all the candidates holding executive posts (except governors) had to resign by April 2 to be legally able to run.

Details by State (Alphabetical Order)

Minas Gerais

* Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB)- Supported by the same 2002's electors Aécio Neves is the main candidate to the government of the state. He has a lot of influence in the party and is probably the virtual candidate for presidency in 2010. According to speculation, he will be reelected with overwhelming support (over 70%).
* Workers' Party (PT) - Supported by the federal government, Nilmário Miranda was chosen by the PT to compete for control of the second state of the country. Nilmário had also lost the Elections in 2002 when Aécio Neves was elected. However, he is not one of the main figures in the party. He is also supported by the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB).

= Paraná =

The main candidates are:

* Governor Roberto Requião (PMDB) is the favourite to win. The speaker of the Legislative Assembly, deputy Hermas Brandão, from PSDB, will be his running mate.
* Senator Osmar Dias (PDT) is the main opposition candidate. His running mate is Derli Antônio Donin (PP).
* Senator Flávio Arns (PT) is president Lula's candidate. Vitor Burko, from PL, will be his running mate.
* Rubens Bueno (PPS) wiil be supported by PFL.

There are seven other candidates: Ana Lúcia Catarino Branco (PRTB), Antonio Jorge Melo Viana (PV), Antonio Roberto Filho (PSL), Ivo José de Oliveira de Souza (PCO), Jorge Luiz de Paula Martins (PRP), Luiz Adão Marques (PSDC) and Luiz Felipe Bergmann (PSOL).

Rio Grande do Sul

Most major parties have launched gubernatorial candidates in Rio Grande do Sul:

* PMDB: Incumbent governor Germano Rigotto in coalition with the PTB, which provided vice-gubernatorial candidate Sonia Santos
* PT: Former governor and Minister for the Cities Olívio Dutra in coalition with PC do B, which provided as vice-gubernatorial candidate the state deputy Jussara Cony
* PSDB: Federal deputy and former Minister of Planning Yeda Crusius, in coalition with PPS, PFL and many smaller parties
* PDT: Federal deputy and former governor Alceu Collares
* PP: Former Minister for the Agriculture Francisco Turra
* Other parties to field candidates include PSOL, PSB, PCO, and PV.

=Santa Catarina =

The main candidates are:

* Governor Luiz Henrique da Silveira, Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), trying the re-election. Ex-mayor of the most populated city of the state, Joinville.
* Esperidião Amin, Progressive Party (PP), governor during 1983 to 1986 and 1999 to 2002, ex-mayor of the state capital, Florianópolis.
* National Secretary of Fishing, José Fritsch, Workers' Party (PT), former mayor of the city of Chapecó.

=São Paulo =

The main candidates are:

* Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) – is the governing party, appointing the mayor of the state capital São Paulo José Serra.
* Workers' Party (PT) – the main opposition party appointed Aloísio Mercadante, senator of São Paulo in the fourth year of his term (the term of a senator in Brazil is eight years-long), to run in this election. The party held primaries to choose between him and Marta Suplicy, former mayor of São Paulo city.
* Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) appointed former governor of São Paulo Orestes Quércia.

Legislative Assemblies

State elections in 2006 will include elections to the unicameral Legislative Assemblies in all States and to the unicameral Legislative Chamber of the Federal District.

Campaign (National Elections)

Starting from the end of 2005, the most discussed issues about the 2006 national elections involved the country's four biggest parties: PFL, PMDB, PSDB and PT.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) ran for reelection [] , but he did not confirm his candidacy until June 2006. This was regarded as a cautious move in case something major happened on the political spectrum that could harm his candidacy, especially regarding the 2005 political scandal, still under investigation.

At the end of 2005, several names were regarded in the PSDB as potential candidates for the presidential elections, such as former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, senator Tasso Jereissati, Minas Gerais governor Aécio Neves, São Paulo (state) governor Geraldo Alckmin and São Paulo (city) mayor José Serra. By the beginning of 2006, Alckmin and Serra were considered the only two actual potential candidates, and the other three would choose between them (or determine a way by which the choice would be made). Geraldo Alckmin was the chosen candidate, whereas Serra is running for governor of São Paulo.

The PFL was planning the candidacy of Rio de Janeiro mayor César Maia. Another possibility was to appoint the vice-president nominee for PSDB presidential candidate. Maia initially said he would agree with the latter only if the presidential candidate was José Serra, but later accepted the possibility of the party appointing a name to run with Geraldo Alckmin, which was eventually senator José Jorge.

In the PMDB there was division. Some, including party president Michel Temer, wanted the party to have a candidate of its own for the presidential race, and scheduled primaries within the party, with two prospective candidates: former Rio de Janeiro governor Anthony Garotinho and Rio Grande do Sul governor Germano Rigotto. Another section of the party, though, wished to ally with president Lula and appoint the vice-president nominee to run with him. This "governist part" of the party was headed by senators Renan Calheiros and José Sarney. There was also a third possibility of making an alliance with PSDB. Ironically, the PMDB decided not to take any part whatsoever in the presidential elections and became free to make any coalition in the states.

Aside from these four parties, the smaller ones had no clear course of action. The PSOL was the first to appoint a candidate, senator Heloisa Helena.

The three main candidates were later joined by Cristóvam Buarque (PDT), Luciano Bivar (PSL), José Maria Eymael (PSDC) and Rui Costa Pimenta (PCO). Ana Maria Rangel (PRP), who also registered her candidacy, was ruled out after internal disagreements with her own party, but was able to revert the situation and regain her right to participate in the presidential race.

The first debate took part on 14 August, featuring Heloisa Helena, Cristóvam Buarque, Luciano Bivar and José Maria Eymael. Lula refused to participate, whereas Rui Costa Pimenta was not invited.

On 15 August, the official electoral programmes started being aired on television and radio. Every weekday, all candidates have a few prime-time minutes to put forward their ideas and plans. The time allocated to each one is loosely based on the number of Congress representatives each coalition has.

Also on 15 August, the Supreme Electoral Court decided to revoke the registration of the PCO candidate, Rui Costa Pimenta. The court ruling was based on the fact that the party had not presented its accounts for the 2002 general elections within the deadline specified by law. Pimenta, however, managed to retain his candidacy: the matter is pending decision.

Polls varied little in the two months prior to the election, showing Lula with over 50% of the valid votes, followed by Alckmin, Heloisa Helena, and Buarque. Nevertheless, the difference between Lula's figures and the sum of his opponents' shortened on the eve of the election.

On 28 September, the PT candidate refused to appear at a debate hosted by Globo TV. Explaining his decision in a letter addressed to the TV station, Lula claimed that all his opponents would take the opportunity to team up and attack him. Three days before the election, the last debate was expected to have a large audience.

On 1 October the first round ended with no winner. Lula was the most voted, but his votes were around 1% less of the sum the other candidates', forcing him to a run-off with Alckmin, who placed second.


Despite being absent of the first-round debates, Lula faced Alckmin in four debates in the second round, each one of them aired by one of the four most important television channels in Brazil - Band, SBT, Record and two days before the election, on Globo TV.

Since the first debate, Alckmin accused Lula of being lenient with the members of his government who had to resign after being charged in many scandals since 2005. Also he tried to underestimate the achievements the president claimed to obtain during his term, like reducing of poverty and inflation rates, claiming his results were consequence of the favorable international economic scenario and the achievements of his antecessor Fernando Henrique Cardoso, from Alckmin's party.

Lula however claimed that despite his government is under investigation, both Cardoso and Alckmin halted many investigations on their administrations with dubious methods. According to analysts, Lula dealt damage to Alckmin most when he accused him of threatening the Bolsa Família program, which attends millions of low-income Brazilian families, and questioning the privatizations done during the Cardoso government claiming that most of them were unnecessary and the state companies in question were sold for sums much lower than their true market value, like the Vale do Rio Doce, sold by R$ 3.3 billion at the time, but now profits this same amount in a quarter of year. Also he claimed that there would be no guarantee that other companies could be sold like state oil giant Petrobras, the country's largest and most profitable company, in case of Alckmin's victory.

If the formula worked or not, the fact is Lula's vote intentions skyrocketed and in the end, he was elected for a second term as president of Brazil by a 20 million vote margin, while Alckmin got less votes than in the first round.

ee also

*Electoral calendar


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