RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As reported around the world, the first round of Brazil’s elections resulted the need for a presidential “run-off” round between Dilma Rousseff (PT, Workers’ Party) and José Serra (PSDB, Brazilian Social Democratic Party), set for October 31st.
Many of our Readers may not understand why there are “rounds”, and possibly even disappointed to be barraged by another month of news, propaganda and campaigning. Apparently it is not uncommon in recent history, and simply put, to be elected president of Brazil, a candidate must win 50 percent of valid votes, plus one vote, to carry the presidential election in one round.
If this requirement is not met in the first round, a run-off will be held between the two candidates with the highest number of votes, which will elect the one who gets most of valid votes.
Election day (which is always a national holiday) has changed over the years but as of 1998, first-round elections will be held on the first Sunday in October and runoff second rounds on the last Sunday of October. So now we wait for October 31st, 2010 to find out who the next president of Brazil will be.
While earlier in the campaign season it seemed Rousseff had a comfortable lead, on the big day Marina Silva (PV, Green Party) secured a surprising 19.3 percent of the votes, closing the gap for Serra just enough to force a run-off round. At this point in the afterglow of the October 3rd elections, many are speculating which way Silva will lean in this next round, as her support (and supporters) will be the difference maker.
The Rio Times Election Poll for the first presidential election round had a very balanced race, with Marina Silva 31.6 percent, José Serra 32.08 percent and Dilma Rousseff with 33.49 percent (and other at 2.83 percent). It’s interesting to compare these results to the Brazilian voters, and I’ll refrain from speculating on the whys.
Now that we have another month of campaigning and debating, we’ll run another Run-Off Election Poll to see who our Readers would elect give just the two remaining candidates.
Something I found interesting in the lead-up to the election was the probability of having the first female president of Brazil. In the U.S. during the last election the Democratic party was in the situation of putting forth what would be either; our first female, or black president as a candidate – and it was a big deal. Of course Obama won the whole show, a tremendous step forward for American ideology.
After some brief research is seems the world’s first female president was Sükhbaataryn Yanjmaa of Mongolia (1953-1954), and the first female prime minister was Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka (1960-1965).
Isabel Peron of Argentina (1974-1976) was the first female (non-acting) president, and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland (1980-1996) was the world’s first female elected president, and first female world leader who did not have a father or husband who was also leader at one time.
While many may not think of South America as the most socially or politically progressive region, there is a strong history of female leadership, starting with the above mentioned Argentina President Isabel Peron.
More recently Chile elected President Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010) and Argentina for their second occasion, has a female President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (2007 – ), actually as an elected position this time.