Opinion by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO – The voters of Rio have spoken, and for the first time in its history, those who did not vote, or who voted for neither of the candidates in the run-off election, achieved a solid majority. As predicted by the Curmudgeon, twenty percent of voters chose the “plague upon both your houses” approach and voided their votes.
Moreover, a record 26.85 percent chose the “get out of Dodge” option and did not show up at the polling station. Out of 4.9 million registered Carioca voters, over two million did not vote for either Marcelo.
The winner, Marcelo Crivella, received 1.7 million votes, a whopping sixty percent of the valid votes, as opposed to the forty percent garnered by Marcelo Freixo. But those votes represent slightly less than 35 percent of the total number of registered voters.
In a country where voting is mandatory, Marcello Crivella will assume office having received the support of slightly more than one-third of registered Carioca voters.
The question now is, how will Hizzoner Crivella govern the city, with such paltry support? He’ll have to make alliances within the city council, which will require dealing with the traditional mainstream parties whose candidate he defeated in the first round elections; the opposition will likely come from leftist parties, which were roundly defeated.
Forming alliances may not be that easy. Brazil’s President Temer and Rio’s Governor Pezão are both PMDB, as is outgoing Mayor Eduardo Paes. The city of Rio depends upon cooperation from both the federal and state governments to be successful.
Many believe that PMDB will work to ensure that Mayor Crivella has a very difficult first two years in office, before the 2018 elections, so as to promote the expected gubernatorial campaign of Eduardo Paes.
The Curmudgeon predicted the negative votes in the elections, but will not (yet) predict a negative future for the City of Rio under Mayor Marcelo Crivella.