The first round of the Brazilian electoral race for the offices of the president of the Republic, 27 state governors, 27 senators, and 513 federal and 1,059 state deputies took place on October1, 2006.

Lula leaps ahead
The reasons for the second round
The second round backstage moves
The picture in the states

Electoral surprises and sorrows
Lacerda and the devil
Meddling de Mello
The Alckmin risk
The second round’s first debate

Lula leaps ahead

The first round of the Brazilian electoral race for the offices of the president of the Republic, 27 state governors, 27 senators, and 513 federal and 1,059 state deputies took place on October1, 2006.

There was an expectation, fed on tens of opinion polls, that the presidential election would be decided now in the first round. That did not happen: President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, of the Workers Party, and Geraldo Alckmin, of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, will face each other in a second-round runoff election due on October 29.

Besides choosing the president of the Republic, the second round will also serve the purpose of deciding who will be the governors of the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Pará, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Goiás, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Maranhão and Pernambuco. In the remaining states, governors were elected in the first round.

Part of the media has presented the holding of a second round as a big surprise. Actually, since the beginning of the presidential campaign, both Lula’s and Alckmin’s campaign coordinations worked with the hypothesis of a two-round election.

With regard to Lula’s campaign, the coordination recalled that there had only been a first-round winner in the 1994 and 1998 presidential elections, precisely when the frontrunner had the support of the larger part of the media and big business.

Since the Lula candidacy was neither the favorite of the media, nor of big capital, it was reasonable to conclude that the second round constituted the more likely scenario, however possible a first-round win was.

Yet a string of opinion polls pointing to the growing likelihood of a Lula victory right then in the first round strengthened the belief in this hypothesis as the most probable.

Consequently there were many in the campaign, within the militancy and the electorate, and even in the media, who started to believe that a second round, though possible, was not the most probable outcome.

Close to the end of the first-round campaign, polls detected a change that pointed to a second round scenario which was now not only possible, but also most likely. In other words, in the final lap of the race, opinion polls and the political analysis carried out by the Lula campaign headquarters at the beginning of the electoral process converged.

Yet the expectations created had been so strong that going to a second round came as a surprise and a disappointment to many Lula supporters.

A similar phenomenon, though with an opposite outcome, occurred with the Alckmin candidacy. The presidential candidate of the PSDB-PFL coalition was, for months, portrayed as an underdog. His adversaries inside the PSDB and important press sectors criticized him for being the “wrong candidate”, without the attributes even to aspire to a second round (the “right” candidate probably being José Serra).

Given this gloomy background, Alckmin’s going to the second round naturally excited the electorate and supporters of the PSDB-PFL coalition.

Both the Lula supporters’ disappointment and the enthusiasm of Alckmin supporters are subjective factors of a strong political bearing. Yet, it is worth recalling that a mere 1.39-percentage point kept President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from being reelected now in the first round.

The Workers Party candidate received 46,662,365 votes (48.61% of valid votes, excluding blank and null ballots), while his main challenger, Geraldo Alckmin, obtained 39,968,369 votes (41.64% of all valid votes).

The third place in the contest went to the candidate of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL) , Heloísa Helena, with 6,575,393 votes (6.85%); followed by Cristovam Buarque of the Democratic Labour Party (PDT), with 2,538,844 votes (2.64%); Ana Maria Rangel of the Republican Progressive Party (PRP), with 126,404 votes (0.13%); José Maria Eymael of the Christian Social Democratic Party (PSDC), with 63,294 votes (0.07%); and Luciano Bivar of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), with 63,294 votes (0.06%). Blank votes totaled 2,866,205 (2.73%); null votes, 5,957,207 (5.68%); and abstentions, 21,092,511 (16.75% of total votes cast.).

One week after the first round count, a poll conducted by Datafolha showed that Lula had widened his advantage and leaped ahead in the second round race. According to data released on October 6, the petista has 50% of the electorate’s preference against Alckmin’s 43%. Undecided voters total 4% and 3% are inclined to voting blank or null. This result demonstrates that thus far Lula has not only kept his voters but also received votes that migrated from other candidacies.

According to Datafolha, 48 percent of Heloísa Helena’s constituency will vote Alckmin; 32% for Lula. Among Cristovam’s voters there is a 39-percent tie, a tendency that is repeated among those who declared having voted blank or null in the first round: 32% would tend now to vote for Alckmin, and 31% for Lula.

The reasons for the second round
There are two different lines of interpretation to attempt to explain the reasons that produced a second round.

The first line underscores the structural aspects involved in the election, such as the pro-Alckmin predominant position of the media.

In Brazil, first-round presidential election victories only occurred in 1994 and 1998, when the then candidate Fernando Henrique Cardoso had the support of most of the media and the business community. In this year’s election, the media once again bet all their chips on the conservative candidacy represented by Alckmin. Polls carried out by the Brazilian Media Watch (OBM) show that, either as president or as presidential candidate, Lula received more criticism than his adversaries in the country’s main daily papers and weekly magazines.

The second line of interpretation underscores present-day aspects, more precisely the facts that occurred in the campaign’s last fifteen days.

Among these facts, two are cited in every analysis:

1) the arrest, by the Federal Police, of two people who were negotiating a dossier which, supposedly contained evidence that a ring was acting inside the Ministry of Health at the time José Serra and Barjas Negri were ministers of the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration;

2) the decision taken by Lula not to attend a televised debate with the presidential candidates, held on the Thursday that preceded Sunday’s elections.

On October 15 in a hotel in the city of São Paulo, the Federal Police arrested Valdebran Padilha and Gedimar Passos. Padilha had been affiliated to the PT since 2004. Gedimar is a retired federal police officer. At the time of the arrest they were carrying R$ 1.7 million (approx. USD 700 thousand), an amount which was to be paid to Luiz Antônio Vedoin in exchange for a dossier that hypothetically contained documents incriminating José Serra and Barjas Negri at the time they were ministers of health of the FHC administration.

The episode, which is still under investigation by the Federal Police and Federal Attorneys, was skillfully exploited by the Alckmin campaign, with the concerted support of most of the media.

The media hid the content of the dossier and focused on accusing both the PT and the Lula government of resorting to condemnable campaign methods, as well as resorting to financial resources of an illicit origin.

The campaign orchestrated by the media and the opposition was built on some extremely grave facts: Gedimar Passos was a Lula campaigner subordinated to Jorge Lorenzetti, coordinator of the “risk analysis” department, who in turn responded to Ricardo Berzoini, PT’s national chairman and general-coordinator of the presidential campaign.

Gedimar Passos mentioned, in his deposition to the Federal Police, the name of presidential aide Freud Godoy, as being involved in the episode. The security system of the hotel where the Federal Police made the arrests, recorded the presence at the scene of Hamilton Lacerda, campaign media coordinator for the PT’s candidate to the governorship of the state of São Paulo, Aloizio Mercadante.

The two other involved in the case were Osvaldo Bargas, a former Ministry of Labor staff and CUT leader, and Expedito Veloso, a Bank of Brazil director.

Opinion polling done after the episode showed that a part of the electorate, which had already made sense of and absorbed the denunciations against the PT and the government in 2005, was once again having second thoughts and demanding explanations.

The PT and the presidential campaign coordination recalled that they did not have the slightest interest in producing denunciations against the toucan candidate to the governorship of the state of São Paulo. Ricardo Berzoini was replaced at the head of the campaign coordination by Marco Aurélio Garcia, PT’s 1st national vice-president. And both the Party and Lula strongly condemned the episode.

But none of that was enough. Important sectors of Lula’s own electorate expected him, personally, to give clear and firm explanations to the episode. Expectations rose, fed not only by the media but by the president himself, that he would give those explanations at a debate with other presidential candidates, scheduled for September 28, the Thursday that preceded the election Sunday.

Yet on the day of the debate organized by the Globo TV network, Lula decided not to attend it. This posture, which went counter to the opinion of most in the campaign coordination, party leaders and government ministers, was met with a very negative reaction from part of the electorate.

Apart from the effect on the electorate, the dossier and Lula’s no show at the debate impacted enormously on the campaign’s militancy, particularly on the petistas.

With the first round over, on October 6, the Workers’ Party national executive board approved a strong resolution with respect to the episode (see the full document at ), which establishes, among other things, the following:

“Those affiliated [party] members involved in this negotiation did not consult the PT board, did not consult the campaign coordination and did not consult the Party’s candidates. Therefore, they disrespected the basic norms of relationship in a democratic party.

The PT National Executive Board repudiates the attitude of those affiliated members, considers it a mistake to replace project disputes with this type of practice, condemns promiscuity with criminal groups, as well as the total lack of respect for the party’s democracy.

The party members who have acted so placed themselves, in practice, out of the Party. And, by decision of the National Executive Board, are politically expelled from the PT.”

In addition to the expelling of those involved, Ricardo Berzoini requested a leave of absence of the national presidency of the PT “for as long as is necessary to fully clarify the facts involving party members in the alleged purchase of a dossier” (See Berzoini’s full note at ).

Marco Aurélio Garcia, PT’s 1st national vice-president, has assumed the Party Presidency on an interim basis, accumulating that function with the general coordination of the Lula President campaign.

Sectors of the Workers Party reckon that, once the election is over, it will be necessary to bring forward the party’s III Congress.

The second round backstage moves
The second round begins with candidates seeking support and new alliances. Both for Alckmin and Lula it is a matter of holding on to their votes, conquering support among those electors who voted blank, null or abstained, and of seeking support among the electors of the remaining candidacies, especially Heloísa Helena’s and Cristovam Buarque’s.

Until the moment this edition was being closed, the only presidential candidate to have publicly announced a decision was Heloísa Helena, who will not recommend voting in either of the two candidates.

The National Board of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), to which Heloísa Helena is affiliated, deliberated “not to recommend voting in Lula or in Alckmin”. Since important PSOL leaders are inclined to vote in Lula, the party’s executive prohibited its militants to publicly manifest their preference.

According to Carta Maior news agency, the most concrete initiative toward supporting a candidate came from Plínio de Arruda Sampaio, the PSOL defeated candidate to the governorship of the state of São Paulo. Having received nearly 532,000 votes, Plínio sent Heloísa Helena a request for a National Board extraordinary meeting “to better deepen the discussions” over what position the party should take in face of the Lula/Geraldo Alckmin contest. Plínio states that “there exist various PSOL sectors throughout Brazil” who would like to deepen the discussion over the possibility of supporting Lula in the second round: “It was not only [based on] a personal will that I have called a Board meeting. This request responds to many people in the party who want to re-examine the question”.

Another advocate of having more deepened discussions over the course the PSOL should take in the second round is federal deputy Chico Alencar, reelected in Rio de Janeiro as the left’s most voted, with 119,000 votes. According to Carta Maior, Chico will hold a plenary on October 11 in which he intends to gather advisors, supporters and voters to decide “what we’ll do, including the second round”.

Besides the PSOL, the leftist front that launched Heloísa Helena’s candidacy is composed of two other parties. The Unified Socialist Workers Party (PSTU) has decided to recommend a null vote. And the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB), in spite of their having published a resolution entitled “No to Alckmin”, has not yet defined if it will campaign for Lula.

The picture in the states
Lula won the presidential elections in 16 states and Alckmin won in 11 states. Not always is there a correspondence between the result of the election for governor and the result of the election for president. In Minas Gerais, for example, Lula received more votes, but the governor-elect is Aécio Neves, of the PSDB, while in Acre, where the PT elected a governor and a senator, Alckmin ended ahead.

In ten states the gubernatorial election will be settled only in a second round. In Rio Grande do Sul and in Pará, Lula will count with the support of PT gubernatorial candidates: Olívio Dutra and Ana Júlia Carepa, respectively. In Pernambuco and in Rio Grande do Norte, he will receive the support of gubernatorial candidates linked to the Brazilian Socialist Party. In the states of Rio de Janeiro, Paraíba and Goiás, he will have the support of PMDB gubernatorial candidates. It is also expected that Roberto Requião, the PMDB gubernatorial candidate in Paraná, will also support President Lula.

The situation is not completely settled in Maranhão, where both candidates have declared their support for Lula. And in Santa Catarina, where so far neither candidate has declared support for Lula. In both cases, the first steps of the Lula campaign have been toward candidates who face resistance from the left in their states: Roseana Sarney, of Maranhão’s PFL and one of the leaderships of the Sarney oligarchy; and Esperidião Amin, of Santa Catarina’s Progressive Party (PP), heirs to the PDS and the Arena, the partisan cornerstones of the military dictatorship.

A rather important episode was the support given by Anthony Garotinho (former governor of Rio de Janeiro) and Rosinha Garotinho (the incumbent governor of Rio) to the Alckmin candidacy. Known as the “kid couple” –in allusion to their surname, Garotinho, literally, “little boy”–, both are being charged with involvement in cases of corruption and are presently under attack by other Alckmin allies. In this sense, their adhesion to the PSDB/PFL campaign might have been a “support that subtracts”.

The support of governors and mayors for a particular candidate is not just a matter of politics. In 1989, for example, there was a lockout in the mass transit system in some regions of the country, with damaging effects to Lula’s candidacy. In 2006, in the very first round of the presidential campaign, Lula took measures to see to it that that wouldn’t happen again.

The risk of sabotage in public transportation is high, even more so because there is an evident regional distribution of the electorate of the two candidacies. While Lula is stronger in the North-Northeast, the challenger’s best results were obtained in the Southern states of the country, as well as in Minas Gerais and São Paulo, two of the three largest electoral colleges in the country.

With 22% of country’s electorate, the Paulista state has 10.9 million voters. In the early days of the campaign, Lula came to have an advantage of 36 percentage points over Alckmin. In the final voting tabulation, the petista ended 17 points behind the toucan.

In the states of the South and the Southeast, there was strong hostility against PT militants and supporters. In states with strong agribusiness presence, cattle farmers distributed stickers reading “Lula, agriculture’s plague”. To avoid any misunderstanding, the sticker was illustrated with a worm with the president’s head.

Faced with so many difficulties, the new coordinator of the Lula campaign for the state of São Paulo and former mayor of the city of São Paulo, Marta Suplicy, defined with great realism her task for the second round: closing the gap between Lula and Alckmin. In other states, as in Rio Grande do Sul and Pará, the task is two times harder: helping to boost the Lula candidacy and winning the election in the state.

Electoral surprises and sorrows
The greatest surprise in this election was the victory of PT’s Jaques Wagner, elected governor of the state of Bahia still in the first round of the elections, imposing a tough blow onto PFL’s Senator Antônio Carlos Magalhães.

Two other chieftains of conservative politics also had their strength rattled by the ballot boxes: the ex-governor of Ceará, Tasso Jereissati (PSDB), and Senator Jorge Bornhausen, the president of the PFL.

According to the press, Tasso lost control of the state of Ceará to brothers Ciro and Cid Gomes, both of the Brazilian Socialist Party. The first was proportionally the country’s most voted federal deputy; the second was elected governor of the state, ending with the toucan hegemony in Ceará. Some say, though, that the relationship between Tasso and Ciro Gomes will survive this process, some even venturing that Tasso Jereissati gave his informal support to the Cid Gomes candidacy.

Jorge Bornhausen quit running for another term as senator for the state of Santa Catarina fearing defeat. But his decision made it possible for Luis Henrique (PMDB), who has his support, to go into the second round against Esperidião Amin (PP), a former ally of Bornhausen’s.

Besides the governor of Bahia, in the first round the PT elected the governors of Piauí, Acre and Sergipe. And is in the second-round race in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Pará, counter to prognoses according to which the party would come out of the elections worse off than when it entered.

Counter also to the forecasts of those who bet on a catastrophic fate for the PT’s federal representation. The party received the largest number of votes for the Chamber of Deputies, outnumbering the PMDB and the PSDB, which ended in the second and third places, respectively.

Since the Brazilian law does not provide for full proportionality, the PT, in spite of having been the most voted party, took hold of the second largest number of seats in the lower house, electing 83 deputies. The House’s biggest party is now the PMDB, which elected 89 deputies. And although the party composes the Lula government’s power base, a significant part of the PMDB is aligned with the opposition.

The result obtained by the PT reveals that the party lost votes in comparison with 2002. This also means that it elected fewer deputies than in that year: in 2002 the party elected 91 deputies, and now 83. But it is worth recalling that during Lula’s term of office the PT representation had several defections, reaching early 2006 with 81 deputies.

For the sake of comparison, the PFL lost 19 deputies compared to 2002 and 40 in relation to 1998, while the PSDB lost 5 deputies in relation to 2002 and 34 in comparison to 1998.

Together, the PT, the PCdoB and the PSB elected 123 deputies this time around. The PSDB, the PFL and the PPS, together, conquered 151 seats. In other words: the Lula government will only have a majority in the Chamber if it allies with the PMDB and attracts the support of other sectors.

The PSOL, which debuted in this election, made three federal deputies. When the campaign started, the PSOL had seven federal representatives, all originally elected by the PT.

The new Chamber of Deputies to be sworn in February 2007 underwent a 46-percent renewal in its composition.

In the Senate, with a third of the seats up for a vote, the PFL elected the largest number of parliamentarians, six, followed by the PSDB with 5, the PMDB with 4, and the PTB with 3. The PT elected two senators: Eduardo Suplicy in São Paulo and Tião Viana in Acre. The PCdoB elected 1 senator, Inácio Arruda from Ceará, the first communist senator after Luís Carlos Prestes’ election in 1946. In a nutshell, in the Senate the opposition will retain the majority.

According to the Higher Electoral Tribunal (TSE), 39,077 voters who live abroad, representing 0.041% of the total number of votes in the first round, voted on October 1. Among these voters living abroad, Lula got 39.8% and Geraldo Alckmin 44.8%.

Lacerda and the devil

In the last days of the first round’s electoral campaign, the conservative media closed the siege on the PT.

Important sectors of the media divulged a thesis according to which Lula’s electorate is composed of illiterate masses motivated by the Lula administration social assistance policies, while Alckmin’s votes would be driven by nobler matters.

The media’s thesis was framed by intellectuals who have or once had prestige, such as Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Hélio Jaguaribe.

In an interview to the Argentine newspaper La Nación in the aftermath of the election, former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso stated that “Brazil was split, but not between the rich and the poor. It was split between the advanced and the laggards”. To FHC, those who voted in Lula in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and, mainly, in the North and Northeast are “laggards”.

Hélio Jaguaribe, in an interview given to Argentine newspaper Clarín, also after the election, said that the Lula electorate is not instructed and “primitive”.

This rhetoric was closely timed with a poll sponsored by newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. On September 25, the newspaper published the story “Rigor with corruption in politics varies according to region and social condition”. The subtitles read: “Northeastern voter expresses higher tolerance with wrongdoings than the Southeastern”.

The story sought to advance the thesis that northeasterners, the poor and the blacks give less value to ethical questions than the residents of the South/Southeast, rich and poor. According to the survey, in “the Northeast, 10% of the voters declared they would vote in a politician accused of corruption –a rate close to that of the North/Center-West, which is 9%. In the South and Southeast, these figures are 6% and 7%, respectively”.

In analyzing the results, journalist Franklin Martins states that “actually, the variations are minimal, are within the poll’s margin of error, and mean absolutely nothing. Indeed, if there is anything to be learned from these figures is that, in assessing the ethical question, there is a reasonably homogeneous pattern across the different regions of the country – and not the contrary”.

Still according to Franklin Martins, “it is clear that the newspaper pursued a thesis. It commissioned the poll to give it, say, scientific support. The survey, however, did not confirm the postulate (or the prejudice). If there had been good sense, the matter would have been shelved. But, because someone wants to prove for whatever reason that the masses “don’t give a damn” about corruption and that our elite has morals befitting Cato, the poll made a story.”

In August this year, Veja’s cover story also featured a profile of the Lula electorate. In a biased way, the weekly reproduced a photo of a poor, black, northeastern woman with low schooling. According to the magazine, “she portrays the voter who will have the swing vote in the month of October”. The implicit message was the same that Jaguaribe vocalized: the “primitives” will decide the future of the country.

In addition to prejudice, the Alckmin campaign also included calls of a coup-like nature.

The most notorious case was the statement made by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, regretting the absence of a “Carlos Lacerda” nowadays. As correctly pointed out by Marcelo Coelho, “to someone with Fernando Henrique’s leftist past, the statement is a true scandal; another step and he would be expressing his nostalgia for Castelo Branco and the military regime”.

Carlos Lacerda was a coup plotter. He helped the coup that overthrew Vargas in 1954; he worked in favor of a coup against JK, in 1955; and participated in the coup against Jango, in 1964. He was known for using phrases for effect. In 1955, he said on television: “Juscelino will not be a candidate; if he is a candidate, he won’t be elected; if he is elected, he won’t be sworn in; if he is sworn in, he will not govern”.

According to columnist Luís Nassif, “it is evident that there is a contest involving practically every large media vehicle to find out who will topple Lula first”. According to him, the virulence of the September 24 editorial of newspaper Folha de São Paulo was inspired by Carlos Lacerda. Whether in the Lacerda-style or not, “the fact is that the media has declared war against the government and there is a wave –not necessarily arranged, because it doesn’t even need to be– to spare toucans and pretend that nothing happens on the other side of the fence”.

Some days before the election, at an event in a club in the capital city of the state of São Paulo, FHC compared Lula to the devil and said: “we have to expel him from here”. To the PT International Relations Secretary, Valter Pomar, the ex-president’s statement was not a “mere impulse, a misplaced sentence in a flawed speech”. According to the petista leader, “a possible explanation is that FHC has decided to radicalize the Veja [magazine] argument according to which “a good petista is a jailed petista” (a post-modern version of ‘a good communist is a dead communist’)”.

Meddling de Mello
If in the great press Geraldo Alckmin had generous spaces with regard to positive news on his candidacy, in the free electoral TV and radio program it was not much different.

Surveys held up to September 22 showed that the Lula campaign had lost, by order of the Higher Electoral Tribunal (TSE), nearly 41 minutes of broadcasting time. In the same period, the toucan candidate had only been subtracted of 2 minutes of his radio and TV time.

If that weren’t enough, even the president of the TSE, Minister Marco Aurélio de Mello, took sides in the contest. He stated that he considers “the series of political scandals of the last years more grave than Watergate, an episode that led to the resignation of former president of the United States Richard Nixon, in 1974”.

Under the title “Watergate is not here”, the Lula campaign electronic newsletter, Antivirus, alerted to the undue analogy. “This comparison is historically incorrect. In the Watergate case it was proved that the president of the US, Nixon, had obstructed with lies and the destruction of documents a criminal investigation. In the case of the Serra/Vedoin dossier, the government’s institutions are at the forefront of the investigations, receiving all the support and stimulus from the president of the Republic”.

In response to Minister Mello’s comparison, Elio Gaspari wrote “Lula is not Nixon, Mello is not Bob Woodward”. To the journalist the comparison is curious for a citizen, impertinent for a magistrate, absurd for a court president. “When the president of the Higher Electoral Tribunal engages in this kind of exercise, Justice loses. Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein thought that the Watergate case was “much worse” that what was thought, but they were reporters, not magistrates”, said Gaspari.

The Alckmin risk

After a first round in which a “statesmanlike” line predominated, the Lula campaign in the second round promises more militancy mobilization, more aggressiveness in the responses, and attacks against the adversary; but, mainly, a better delimitation of the political and programmatic areas.

According to a note by the campaign coordination issued on October 3, “the second round will be a confrontation between two projects of Nation. On one side, the progressive forces committed to a democratic, popular and sovereign Brazil. On the other, the conservative bloc that ruled Brazil in the 1990s and early years of this century”.

The campaign’s leadership reaffirms that “Lula is a candidate for reelection because his administration was extremely positive for Brazil: economic development, reduced external vulnerability, employment growth, increased salary mass, reduced hunger, poverty and social inequality. The second term will deepen this”.

The text also states that “to defeat the old, the Lula campaign will seek, with firmness and humility, to gain the trust and the vote of the voters who, in the first round, abstained, voted blank or null, voted in other candidacies and even those electors who opted for our adversary. We will present our accomplishments, admitting and correcting our faults, reaffirming what our second term of office will be and unveiling in a clear and didactic way the lies that have been cast upon us, especially in the last weeks”.

This position of the campaign coordination was ratified by the Workers Party national executive board, which on October 6 approved a resolution (see complete document at, where the following can be read:

“We will attain this objective through a politicized campaign, one that will make it clear that in the second round two projects for the country are being confronted, one conservative and neoliberal, the other democratic and popular.

We will face the ethical debate, in which our government and our party do not fear any comparison; indeed we shall recall in which government the piratization, the buying of votes for the reelection, the shelving of lawsuits and the blockade of parliamentarian inquest committees occurred.

Lula will be reelected. But an election is not won on its eve. An election is won in the debate, in the mobilizing, fighting at close quarters. These are the tasks for the whole party over the upcoming weeks: retain our electorate, conquer the votes of those who abstained, voted blank, voted null or voted for our adversaries, including those who voted for the PFL-PSDB candidate in the first round.”

One of the weapons of the campaign’s strategy is to warn the country about the “Alckmin risk”: the risk of privatizations, of repression against social movements, of public indebtedness, of the loss of labor rights, of a reduced budget for social programs.

The second round’s first debate

The debate that confronted Lula and Alckmin, organized by TV Bandeirantes on Sunday 8, launched the official start of the second-round presidential campaign. It was the first of a series to occur from now until October 26, the date the electoral legislation establishes as being the last for holding events of the kind.

The debate served as a “sample” of what the elections’ second round will be (see newsletter Antivirus no. 42): intense aggressiveness, focus on corruption, comparison between administrations and the confrontation of different policy visions for Brazil.

From now on until October 29, one thing is sure: the political temperature will only rise.